Advanced Lab 1/00-6/00


Advanced Lab 1/00-6/00

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…

June 2000

Ronald J. Dayton

Found on page 82 of Bruce Elliott’s incredible 1959 book, “Professional Magic Made Easy “ was an effect called Honeycutter. This was a very fast, interest—sustaining commercial, follow—the— leader’ type card handling created by a gentleman named Al Honeycutt.

I’m not sure if my version is any cuter than Mr. Honeycutt’s or not. I’ve not been able to make the conclusion any more direct than his, but I have eliminated the lifts and turnover counts he employed.

When you are performing Honey—cuter, the spectator removes the eight cards you will be using from the deck themselves. In fact, the spectator is involved in this effect from beginning to end since the patter allows them to interact vith the performer several times during the routine.

You begin by tossing the cased deck out on the table and asking that the spectator open the case, remove the cards, then look for the four kings and four aces. They are requested to remove the kings and place them in a face down packet in front of you to your left. Next, they are to find the four aces and place them to your right, also in a face down packet. This done, they are now told to replace the remainder of the deck in the case, close the case and set it to one side for a while.

To my way of thinking…if each packet of cards has been taken from the deck, then tabled in separate packets by the spectator himself, there should be no further reason to show or in essence, count the cards again individually. You should be able to simply place the packets together and continue with your routine.

This is a way to do exactly that in a rather convincing manner, without using lifts, turnovers or drop additions. Begin by picking up the left hand packet, the kings….turn them face up and show them by fanning them between the hands. As the cards are closed and held in the left hand, you retain a little finger break between the second and third cards. The right hand now picks up the packet to the right, the four aces. You fan these cards in the right hand. Then, to close the packet, you tap the long edge of the cards nearest the R.H. little finger against the table top. But, you keep enough pressure on the cards so the face card of the fan does not close flush with the packet. It extents fanned or slightly jogged about a quarter of an inch or more beyond the other three cards. Now, as the hands are brought together, seemingly in the action of simply placing the four aces on the front of the four kings packet in the left hand, the first three aces go into the break of the left hand cards and the jogged ace slides on to the front of the top two kings. The packet of eight cards are now squared and held in the left hand.

The packet in the left hand is now turned face down and held in the left hand in dealer’s position.

The top two cards of the left hand packet are now thumbed off into the right hand. You draw attention to a spot on the table to your left. Point to the spot vith the right hand cards, slightly fanned and tipped so their faces may be seen. The right hand then returns to the left and two more cards are thumbed off the left hand packet, being taken BELOW the two already in the right hand. Without showing the faces of the cards in the right hand, they are now dropped face down on to the spot you indicated on the table to your left. You say, “ The four kings will go here.”

The left hand now thumbs the top card of the remaining four it holds face down into the right hand. You turn the right hand card over so its face may be seen and point to a spot on the table to your right. Tap the spot with the card, then turn the card face down and drop it on the spot as you say, “ The aces will go here.” During this action, the left hand tips to flash the face card of the remaining three it holds. This will also be an ace. The left hand cards are now dropped face down on top of the tabled card to your right.

You have now set the stage for a fast paced series of events. The audience has cleanly seen both the four aces and the four kings displayed. They believe they know their positions on the table. The kings to your left, the aces to your right. Now the magic can begin.

You tell the spectator you are going to say the names of the cards as you handle them. After you give them the nod, they are to repeat the names of the cards in exactly the same way.

You slide the left hand packet from the table with your right hand and place it face down in the left hand. You say KINGS. The tabled right hand packet is now slid to the left, taking the position previously occupied by the kings. You say, ACES. As your right hand rests above this newly positioned left hand packet, you nod toward the spectator. They say KINGS. You turn the top card over and place it face up to one side. It is a king. Your left hand now tips to flash the front card of its packet. it is an Ace. You nod, and the spectator says ACE. The right hand removes this front card and tables it face up. The card directly below it is seen to be another ace. The packet is now tabled, face down to your right.

The actions are repeated a second time. Tabled packet to your left is removed and held face down in the left hand as you call them kings. The right hand packet is shifted to the left near the face up king. You nod. Spectator says KINGS. Top card of left hand tabled packet is turned over, and it indeed is a king. Left hand tips to flash front card of packet it holds. It is an ace. Nod, and spectator says ACE as you remove this front card and table it face up with the other tabled ace. The cards remaining in the left hand are now tabled face down next to the first two face up aces to your right.

Actions are repeated a third time. Removal of the left hand packet and shifting of the right. Top card of the new left hand packet is turned over, it is a king. The cards in the left hand are turned over to show the front card…. it is an ace, but the card directly above it is a king, and you do not want them to see this card at this time. Simply pull the ace away in the right hand, turning it fully face up while simultaneously turning the king face down with the left hand. Table the face up ace with the others to your right, and place the face down king next to that packet.

The final reveal involves no ‘handling’ at all. The cards are already in position. Simply slide the face down left hand card off the table face down into your left hand, and then transpose the face down right hand card to the left beside the three face up kings. Name the face down cards as you do so, king and ace. Nod to the spectator. They say king as you turn over the left hand card. It is a king. They say ace, and you turn over and table the final card held in your left hand. It is an ace, and is placed face up on the table to your right with the other three aces.

One by one, each of eight cards have transposed themselves from one position to another. It seems as if the power of suggestion… the fact that the spectator names the cards after the packets have been shifted, somehow has the power to WILL the cards to change. This is an excellent foundation upon which to build your patter. The effect is so strong, and so direct, people won’t believe their eyes. If you get the chance to read the original handling in the Elliott book, please do so. I am by no means saying my version is better. All I have done is to modify the handling so “1 am more comfortable with it. Not being a card—worker by any means…I need all the help I can get. This method transforms the Honeycutter effect into one I can and will perform.

May 2000

You may or may not have noticed that there isn’t much (if any) chemical magic in I.C.O.M. But when a real winner comes along, it’s worth inclusion. This is a great effect and one worth the consideration of the professional looking for something different in the realm of comedy magic. There are just two words of advice I need to mention before you dive into this egg-strodinary trick (sorry, I had to !) 1. If you are under 18 and reading this, please follow this rule. Never experiment with chemical magic unless accompanied by an adult. 2. One comedy line in the following routine may be a bit “politically incorrect”* perform it at your own risk! <G>…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

This is a tongue—in—cheek effect which begins with the selection of a playing card. After the card has been chosen by an audience member, remembered, and returned to and lost in the deck, you sort of matter—of—factly mention that magic isn’t the only thing you do. For their edification, you show the audience a round egg dish…the type with indentations for holding several eggs. You proceed to tell the audience that you are also an amateur inventor on the side, and that this is your latest creation. All of the eggs are WHITE hard—boiled eggs, but, each one has the name of a different color; RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE and YELLOW printed boldly on it in black felt tip marker. You announce that these are Easter Eggs for color—blind people!*

The dish of eggs is placed upon your table, and while you turn your back, a member of the audience is to come forward and point to one of the colors. He is then to spell its name, moving one egg and one letter at a time in a clock—wise direction around the dish until he comes to a second egg. He is then to spell the name of THAT color, clock-wise in the same manner until he comes to a third and final egg. He is then asked to pick up and remove that egg, and to notify you that he has completed his task.

You turn, approach the table, and without looking at the remaining eggs, you place the dish out of sight, or off to one side for a moment. Your thoughts now return to the card which had been selected earlier. You ask the spectator who made the selection to name his choice. The spectator who made the random choice of one of the eggs is asked to hold that egg up to his forehead and concentrate on the card just named. You bring out a small, clear glass bowl. The spectator is asked to crack and peel the egg he holds. When he does.. .ON THE ACTUAL WHITE OF THE EGG, he will find printed the name of the previously selected card!!

EXPLANATION: This is a combination of a spelling color force of my own creation and a chemical method for writing on the interior surface of a hard—boiled egg which appeared in the Fawcett Book release, “ 100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do “, by Joseph Dunninger. This appeared in paperback in 1954.

Let’s begin with the egg writing since it is the most amazing aspect of this effect. The solution consists of one ounce of ALUM dissolved in one pint of VINEGAR. Using a small paint brush, print the name of the card to be forced C 10—D, K—H, 4—C etc ) on the egg shell of a RAW egg. When completely dry, and no sign of the writing remains, boil the egg for twelve to fifteen minutes. That’s all there is to it.

Mark this egg once it has cooled with the felt tip marker. Print the word GREEN in bold lettering. This will be your force egg. As long as you still have the water on the boil, prepare four additional hard—boiled eggs. When these are drained and cooled, mark them RED, BLUE, ORANGE and YELLOW respectively.

When the eggs are placed into the egg dish, place the blue egg first. To its right, red, then yellow, green and orange. Now, when a free selection is made and its name spelled to to arrive at a second color.., and this new color is spelled out to arrive at a third, that final egg will always be the green egg.. .the only one marked by chemicals to reveal the force card.

You may use any type force you choose for the card. Slip Force, Count Force, Fan Force, Cut Deeper Force etc. I use the latter quite often. You may also arrange the eggs in another order on the plate if you wish, and the Color Spell Force will still work. For this alternate set—up begin with the Red egg, followed to its right by Blue, Green, Orange and yellow. Only this and the previous order given will work. Any other arrangement of the eggs will not bring forth the green egg as an end result every time.

My reason for choosing to use the round egg dish is to eliminate any error on the part of the spectator in the manner and direction in which the colors are to be spelled to. Eggs in a row upon the table may be more confusing than organized in a dish. The clock- wise spelling becomes much easier to control.

Lastly.. .1 would like to comment on the visible markings on the eggs. I opted to print the colors on white eggs for two reasons. First of all, I felt the notion of having invented Easter Eggs for color blind people was pretty funny. Secondly, I could have dyed the eggs in Easter colors.. .but I didn’t know how the dye would work in combination with the alum/vinegar solution painted on the shell earlier. In other words, I’ve just been too lazy to test the colored eggs out for myself. I’m hoping, if you are interested…you will try this out for yourself.

April 2000

Well Ladies and Gents, without further adieu we bring an effect that is worth “TWICE” your I.C.O.M membership and that is no joke! Ron was saving this for a special contest but decided to give it to our lucky membership. This may be the finest routine of its kind ever published so dig in and thank Ron on the message board when you get the chance…BJG

A Full Routine and Incredible Concept
Ronald J. Dayton

Several props are lying upon your table. There is a sheet of paper upon which a listing of names has been professionally printed. There is also a pen or pencil, a note pad, and a standard security envelope.

You give an account of a private party you had recently been hired to perform at. The hosts, Lincoln and Jillian Potter supplied a list of the guests who would be present. The list named twelve couples and all of their children. The total number of people attending the party, including the Potters and their two children came to fifty people…husbands and wives, sons and daughters.

When you are escorted out of the room, a member of the audience is shown the guest list. They are to choose any name on the list they wish. Any individual first name. They then write this name on a slip of paper from the note pad, place the slip into the security envelope and seal same. When the name was chosen it was shown to the others in the group.

Your assistant then places the security envelope at the back top edge of the Guest List and secures it with a paper clip. The spectator then places the sheet with attached envelope on the table. Envelope is below, list is on top.

The security envelope prevents any view of the folded slip inside it. Only the list of names is visible to the performer when he returns. The spectator is asked to concentrate on the name they chose. The performer eventually announces the image of a family name he is getting. In time, without asking any questions, he is able to correctly reveal the chosen name.

At first glance, this may all seem a bit complicated, but, once you begin to really understand the principle, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is. The complete GUESTLIST, properly printed is given with this explanation. You will also find a step-by-step, five-part instruction sheet that should make everything clear.

Let’s look at the instruction sheet first. Figure *1 shows four paper clips positioned on a sheet of paper. Every clip has two curl ends, a larger long end, and a smaller short end. These can be slipped on to a card or sheet of paper in one of four ways. Figure one shows the visual clip code for the categories of the people who can be selected. They will either be one of the husbands, a wife, or one of their children…son or daughter. The position of the clip on the paper will tell you which it is.

Item *2 on the instruction sheet explains that you have five different color paper clips at your disposal. You’ll recall that the paper slip is not on the table at the start. One of each clip is in a different pocket on your assistant’s person. They have memorized which pocket contains which color clip.

Each color has a certain number of letters in its spelling. The letters in the color match the letters in the names on the Guestlist. So depending upon the color of the clip, and the way it is facing on the paper, you will be coded the sex and adult or adolescent status of the person, and the number of letters in their first name.

That’s great you say, but how do I discover which of the fifty names has been selected? Instruction figure *3 explains this. Look at the guest list. You’ll see that GUESTLIST is printed at the top center of the page. As shown in Fig. 3, depending upon if the curl end of the clip is nearest the G, the center T, or the far right-hand T in the word GUEST LIST…you are told if the name appears in group A, B or C of the list.

You have twelve couples listed. This is broken down into three groups of four as shown in Fig. 4. Group A runs from Riley to Randall, group B from Bates to Stolks, and Group C from McConroy to Yardley. Dots at left margin denote the start of the new group.

All of the actual guests can be coded with either a red, blue, green or yellow paper clip. The silver paper clip codes the Potter family. It can be anywhere near the center of the top edge. You need only know it is silver for Potter, and which direction it faces, large or small curl to denote the sex of the adult or child.

Step number six on the instruction sheet gives four examples. The words GUESTLIST appear just as on the actual list. The first clip is red. It Is near the letter G, and the large curl end is open side to the right. The name it codes is Hal Riley. In the second example, the clip is green. a small curl end is open to the left. This is a girl. The clip is near the center of the words GUESTLIST, coding group B. Green has five letters. The only five letter girls name in group B is Renee In example three, the blue clip is large curl end open to the left. This indicates a wife. The clip is near the last T in the word List, coding group C. The wife in that group with four letters ( blue ) is Joan Yardley. The last example is a silver slip, so we know it is one of the Potters. It is a small curl end to the right, so its a boy. The chosen name is their son, Gregory.

While you are out of the room, your assistant sees the name that is chosen., so she knows if it is a husband, wife, son or daughter. She also knows the number of letters in the name, and that tells her which color clip to take from which pocket. The name is written down by the spectator, the paper folded and placed into a security envelope and sealed. The assistant then affixes the envelope to the back of the GUESTLIST sheet, using the proper color clip with the proper curl end turned the proper way at the front of the page…and the clip positioned in the right place over the words GUEST LIST. When the performer enters, he is looking directly at the list of names and at the clip. The clip instantly tells him if it is a husband, wife, son, or daughter that has been chosen. The placement over the words Guest List tells him which group he has to look at, top four names, center four, or last four of the twelve invited couples. The color of the clip tells him the number of letters in the name of the person he seeks. A quick look at the names in the proper group will provide him with an answer.

The exception to all of this is of course, the Potter family. Someone may or may not select one of their names. If they do, the silver clip and the way the curl end faces tells you everything.

As I said in the beginning, this looks much more complicated than it really is. When I first explained it to my twenty-year-old daughter, it didn’t make sense to her. Then we ran through it several times using the actual clips, and in about five minutes, she was revealing the names I had chosen randomly from the list.

I showed the effect to my wife Susan as well, and she suggested it might be used as a Who Done It? type plot in a mystery presentation. Not a bad idea at all. The detective is given a list of suspects and the audience gets to select the name of the guilty party.

My thanks to my daughter Jennifer for assisting me in sorting out all the needed names on the list after the wee hours of the morning had taken their toll on me. Without her sharp mind and eye, this effect would never have been correctly completed.

Who would ever think that a lowly paper clip could transmit so much coded information. When you look at the list, it really does seem impossible. But properly read, it works every time without error. Work with it yourself and discover how simple it is.


Couples -_____________________________________________________________Children

HAL and BRENDA RILEY_______________________________________________ _RANDY and GAIL

JACOB and SUE SCHMIDT_______________________________________________NICHOL and AMY

BRAD and CAROL TAYBRICK____________________________________________PETE

ROBERT and BETH RANDALL____________________________________________NANCY and DAN

DANIEL and DEE BATES________________________________________________ TOM, PAM and CHERYL

TOM and TAMERA MONTEL_____________________________________________MARCUS and RENEE

HANK and JUNE GARRETT_______________________________________________JANE and FRANK

LARRY and KATHY STOLKS_____________________________________________DEAN

.TED and SANDRA McCONROY__________________________________________KIM BETH and VIOLET

SIDNEY and JOY TIMMS________________________________________________

RANDY and NANCY DAVIS_____________________________________________OTTO and MANDY

PETE and JOAN YARDLEY______________________________________________OLIVER and TIM

*LINCOLN and JILLIAN POTTER_________________________________________CYNTHIA and GREGORY

* Hosts
DATE:_____________ TIME: __________ PLACE:

March 2000

Ronald J. Dayton

A short time ago, magic lost one of its finest with the death of Larry Jennings. Although I never met the man, I was acutely aware of his prominence and skill in the art. As a performer, innovator and inventor…he exemplified excellence. One of the best of the best.

A friend of mine recently shared a Jennings creation with me. It was an effect in which three playing cards were used. Two with like color backs, and one different. The odd card, when placed at the bottom of the packet of three would magically penetrate to the center, becoming sandwiched between the two like back cards. It could also travel from the center to the outside back in a mysterious manner. The method was simplicity itself. It was the handling and performance that ‘sold’ the effect and gave it strength.

The version my friend had shown to me was not the original Jennings card. The routine was based on Jennings moves, but the card and. the way it had been gimmicked ( one of the like backed cards gave it a locking quality. In other words, the gimmicked section could be handled more casually. This was an innovation of friend Rich Walker.

If you have been an online friend of I.C.O.M for a while, or are familiar with any of my work, or the MUM COLUMN… YOU KNOW I can’t resist ‘tinkering’ with ideas that are new to me.

The illustration shows my version or takes on the Jennings card. Mine is a court card which has been slit half its length down the right inner framework which surrounds the image of the king, then horizontally through the center to the other side, and then down the left hand framing border as indicated by the ‘STEP’ shaped path of the dotted line. With the card on its side, the cut resembles the letter “Z”.

This gimmicked card is one of the two similar backed cards. In the stack, this card is the center card, and the bottom card is the odd backed card.

By turning the odd backed •card perpendicular to the packet from below, its long edge can be slipped up into the top cut section of the gimmicked card. Pushing the odd card to the left, then pulling it to the left with the left hand, and simultaneously swinging or pivoting the card upward…you will discover it is now sandwiched between the two like backed cards. Reversing the procedure will make it travel back to the bottom of the packet.

Thanks to the design of the cut made in the gimmicked card, the slit is well concealed. It also allows for a card that has no break in its side or top borders. Properly handled, this card may be shown quite freely, front and back without revealing the secret passage.

I know that the explanation for any handling has been very brief.. .but you have the basics, and I want you to experience the fun of working with the cards in hand, and discovering what they can do for yourself!

You will find ways for holding and handling the cards which are most suited to only you. How to push the card. How to lift or swing it. Which moves are angle proof, and which need to be guarded? And don’t forget, if your two like backed cards are also court cards of the same value, you can inter—change them, and make the odd card seem to go from the back to the middle, and end up on the face of the packet. Enjoy!

February 2000

About a year ago I asked Ron to start this series because I knew that any magic school worth it’s salt would need to address the classic props of magic to anyone wishing to pursue the art. Such a series would be a cornerstone of the school and be a reference tool that magicians would use for years to come.

Well, my expectations were surpassed far more than I could have imagined. Over the last year, Ron has taken nearly every classic of magic and written and exhaustive treatise on each. These are quite frankly the finest lessons EVER written on these subjects. I have never seen the likes before and imagine never will again. I.C.O.M is so fortunate to have Ron and his outstanding insights and the student has been given knowledge more precious than platinum.

That being said. It is with great pleasure to present the FINAL installment in this series (unless of course, he gives me another one <G>). And appropriately, it is about the most famous symbol of our art. “The Magic Wand”. The series is now complete and the school can now focus on narrower issues. Thanks again Ron, you are truly one of a kind…BJG

” The WANDer Of It All “
Ronald J. Dayton

Welcome to another session of my seemingly aimless rambling thoughts on a particular subject of my own choosing. This month I would like to discuss the wands of every conceivable style and function I can think of. And to what end you might well ask. Because I am hoping to enlighten those of the newest members of our ranks…and give them some sort of idea what is available to them, and what has been available in the past. Please keep sight of the fact that I most certainly am no expert in the field…but I have read my share of dealer ads in the past…so to that extent…and that extent only, I am qualified.

The magician’s wand is a specialized tool…whether it is gimmicked or altered to afford one particular function or not. Even if it is nothing more than a branch from a tree…a chopstick, or a breadstick…its power lies in what the audience believes it is empowered to do. The wand and its ability to assist in producing miracles are a part of the psyche of modern man. Since the days of wizards of yore, the magic wand has been a mythical symbol. People relate to it, and within their inner spirit, the reason it has the ability to do the impossible.

As a prop alone, the wand is indispensable as a means of affording misdirection, both in a physical and psychological sense. Standard wands and smaller pocket wands allow the performer to lap, pocket, switch, or steal objects at will under the pretense of simply going to his pocket or case for the wand. An action as effective as Dai Vernon’s wand spin is an illusion in and of itself… and one which in the hands of a skilled performer can create absolute miracles.

As I have stated earlier, perhaps a bit too simplistically, a wand, under impromptu circumstances can consist of a variety of things. Depending upon how you present a given object as being a wand will determine the audience’s acceptance or rejection of it. In an oriental routine, you can easily get away with using a chopstick. In restaurant work, very likely a straw, table knife, breadstick will suffice and be accepted, especially if you are working in a light-hearted manner. For comedy work, there are a whole host of wands available. We have the Flat Wand, Spring Wand, Crooked Wand, Feather Duster Wand, Spoon handle and plumber’s plunger wands, Nesting Wands, Break Away Wands, Sponge Wands, Confusing Wands, Color Changing Wands, Zebra Wands, Assistant Diploma Wands and the like.

In the past…wands had a more serious beginning. The standard wand was between fourteen to sixteen inches in length and about a half-inch or so in diameter, usually black with white or silver tips. P&L manufactured special paper shells that allowed the stage performers of the day to present an effective version of the vanishing wand. Special wands called Handkerchief Wands could vanish a silk from within a paper cone. Wands assisted in card rises, flower productions and were sometimes also employed as part of a full stage fountain of water display in which jets of water would spew forth from various objects touched by the wand, and from the wand tip itself.

Wands could seeming to penetrate borrowed hats and coats without injuring them. They could rise or spring from the performer’s hands at will. Some hollow wands were used to produce color changes of liquids…others provided the secret hiding place for necessary somethings in ribbon restorations.

In the forties, special catalyn wands were used much as the modern appearing flag poles are employed. The white tip section appeared to be a cigarette when the flattened band of wand material was rolled in a specific manner. When released, the plastic unrolled rapidly, then re-formed mid-air into the standard wand shape. Spectacular to say the least! As technology moved forward, wands that fired an exploding cap ( Bang Wands ) were created, as well as wands that shot forward burning flash paper in a blinding burst of light. All of these have their place…but each must be handled with the care their potential ability for harm dictates. I was once told of a careless performer who was doing a lecture and used a flash wand with abandon. He actually set it off while pointing it toward people in the front row. The resulting flame hit an elderly gentleman seated there, and the fire literally burned a visible hole in his shirt! By some miracle, the shot did not hit him in the face or eyes.

Other less dangerous wands I might mention were also devised for specialized reasons. Some wands have a small extending pinpoint at one end to facilitate the breaking of balloons in various effects. Some have strong magnets within their tips for card rises, mental effects, etc. Some very clever applications indeed. Some wands are spring-loaded, and hollow, allowing them to secretly insert objects into things such as raw eggs…objects such as rolled bills. Then too, there are wands designed to conceal and visibly produce coins from the air.

When I was very young…one of the first styles of wands I ever purchased via a mail-order catalog was the amazing five-in-one wand. I believe it is still available today. Well, as a matter of point…the wand was quite well made, and very sturdy. But I would caution any person purchasing a piece of apparatus which claims to do ‘ too many ‘ things…to take the claims with a grain of salt. I found, on a personal level, that this marvelous wand did two of the five things very well. When all is said and done…that really isn’t all that bad! <G>

I have no doubt that there are certain styles of wands that have escaped my memory. If you have a sincere interest in discovering more…I strongly urge you to try to get your hands on some old magic catalogs. Investigate newer catalogs as well, because innovators are providing new and exciting props all the time. The history of the wand is a fascinating journey. I urge the serious student of magic to look into it further. The search will provide you with valuable background knowledge to advance your progress. I am certain, since I am not a scholar, that I have missed things you might want to know. But I do most sincerely hope that this has been an enjoyable first step for you to take.

January 2000

Five Perfect Paddle Puzzles
(for lack of a better name)
Bobby J. Gallo

If there is one thing that really annoys me, it is that you often see very important and valuable sleights explained in children’s magic kits. I have always said that there are many appropriate tricks for kids, but since it is cost-effective to manufacture simple props that involve sleights, the self-working tricks get fewer and fewer. Such is the current state of the paddle.

The paddle, which used the related “paddle move” is a sleight that dates back at least to the 1800s (GEE, THAT’S TWO CENTURIES AGO! <G>) It has been the move by which countless magicians have made reputations and even I use the paddle move for no less than three routines in my close-up program.

All that being said, I realized that I.C.O.M has never really dedicated a lesson to the paddle complete with routines to stimulate the students thinking. So here to start the new millennium, are five perfect paddle puzzles.

To make a paddle of your own, we should look back to the old days and use the original prop. A dull butter knife. Even the plastic kind used at picnics will work great so long as it is not of the “see-thru” variety. Experiment and I am sure you will find other props to use this timeless principle with.

To execute the paddle move, please refer to Jumping Dice Spots In The I.C .O.M Archives. The same move is used there except with dice. If you have any problems, please feel free to use a virtual lesson or consult the classic book, Sach’s Sleight Of Hand-Dover Edition (available in the online catalog).

The following is a list of five effective tricks for use with your butter knife paddle.

  • Effect #1: You write a number on a piece of paper and the number appears on the blade of the butter knife.

    Method: Before the trick, either write the number with a magic marker on one side of the butter knife blade. Best to use the plastic butter knife for this due to the fact that it is disposable. And if possible, write the number in longhand. This seems to add a certain “something” to the revelation. If you only have a regular metal butter knife and do not want to permanently ruin the blade with the magic marker, just cover the spot on the butter knife blade with “Invisible type Scotch Tape” and write the number on the tape. This way the number (tape) can always be removed in desired. Perform the paddle move to show the butter knife blade blank on both sides then after the magical gesture, turn it over without the move to show the writing has appeared.
  • Effect #2: The spectator writes a number from one to 20 on a piece of paper. You tear up the paper and the number appears on the butter knife blade.

    Method: Prepare 20 plastic butter knives with numbers written on them from one to twenty and have them indexed in your pocket. Proceed as above. Yes, this takes a bit of work, but imagine the effect it will have on the audience!
  • Effect #3: The spectator selects three different numbers which he writes down. You give him a simple arithmetic problem. He folds up the paper so you cannot see the answer and places it in his pocket. The butter knife is shown blank and with a magical gesture, the answer appears on the butter knife blade.

    Method: Prepare the butter knife by writing 1-1/2 on the blade. Have the spectator write three DIFFERENT numbers on a piece of paper (without you seeing them). For example, he writes-682. Tell him to REVERSE his figures-(286). Tell him to subtract the smaller figures from the larger-682 minus 286 equal 396. Tell him to take the MIDDLE figure of his answer (9) and divide it by 2-(4-1/2). Now tell him to subtract 3 and his answer is 1-1/2! Follow the above formula and it works every time with one exception. Sometimes his answer will come out in TWO figures instead of three. If it does, the answer will ALWAYS be 99. In that case, you say, “Take either figure”.
  • Effect #4: You have a friend in the audience. Prepare the butter knife by writing their initials on one side of the butter knife blade. Proceed as above.
  • Effect #5: Here is a risky one but if you have an “out” why not try it? But the odds are 10 to 1 in your favor if you do it this way. Say, “Think of a number BETWEEN 1 and 4. (do not say, FROM 1 to 4). Psychologists will tell you it’s 10 to 1 he’ll think of the number 3. Write 3 on the butter knife blade. You’ll be surprised to learn that it works almost every time. Want it to work every time? Then use effect #2 and get to work!!!<G>


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 1997,1998,1999,2000 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 1/00-6/00


Here it is! Part II of the marketed magic of Bobby J. Gallo! What is funny about this effect is that when it was originated over 15 years ago, I had no idea that there were similar methods out in the magical world. I really thought I had an original method never before discovered! However, many magicians after purchasing my effect claimed that my handling was actually superior than most. So here it is……BJG

JUNE 2000

(Quite possibly the most direct and effective version of Ring Flight)
Bobby J. Gallo

The Wizard borrows any finger ring from the audience. After certain by-play on the part of the performer, the ring is wrapped in a handkerchief and held by the spectator! (that’s right the spectator actually feels the ring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Then the wrapped ring is tapped by a pencil and vanished right before the spectator’s unbelieving eyes!.

The performer then patters that the ring is in mid-flight transit from the handkerchief to his pocket.

A small handsome key case is now taken out of said pocket, shown on both sides, and is completely sealed. It is unzipped and opened in front of the spectator, and as impossible as it may seem, THE RING IS SECURELY FASTENED TO A HOOK ON THE INSIDE OF THE CASE! FEATURE EFFECT THAT IS WITHOUT PEER!


Obtain a small leather key case. The kind that can be zipped up the side and has small hooks for fastening the keys inside. You must have the kind with hooks! No other variety of key case will work. I used to supply a really nice genuine leather case with the trick when I marketed it years ago which back then sold for $10.00. The only preparation is to take one hook inside of the case near the middle and open it more than the others so that and object such as a key or ring (heh, heh) can be easily slipped on and off the particular hook easily. This hook is now stuck up, out of the case so that it hangs outside and is clipped to the front of either the shirt or inside jacket pocket. In other words, have the whole case inside the pocket with the opened hook clipped on the top edge of the pocket.

You also need the special handkerchief ring vanish. This is easily made by dropping either a ring of your own or a metal washer into a devil’s handkerchief and your all set.

The case is in your pocket with hook on top. and the devil’s hank is in your right jacket pocket, or on your table.


Start by Pattering that you are going to give everyone a flying lesson. You ask to borrow a ring, then having obtained it you display it while taking out the handkerchief with the other hand. You then make a switch under the hank, letting the spectator feel the duplicate ring instead of the real ring! Palm the real ring, (either in the classic palm or finger palm) put hand under the coat to get a pencil. At this point, you are actually hooking the ring into the key case hook in one continuous motion as you take out the pencil. Practice this move thoroughly because it happens to be the most important move of the effect. The spectator’s attention must not be drawn to it but rather just think that you were actually trying to obtain a pen or pencil. (use a pencil or small magic wand. Pens leak and will ruin your shirt!)

After having obtained the pencil, you execute the ring vanish. Take the devil’s hanky by the corner and shake it. Thus proving that rings really do fly. The just do so invisibly. (hank can either be held by the spectator the whole time or placed on the table, the latter is the safest but it is not as effective.) After a little bit more by-play, reach undercoat, grasping the key case, and holding the clipped ring that is sticking out well into palm position.

Bring the key case out making sure that none see that the ring is in your palm. Rotate the case showing that it is sealed. Unzip the case and turn the case over. At the same time, the keys are dropping* you remove hand covering ring, This makes it look like the ring dropped out of the case along with keys. Ask the spectator to identify his ring, and bow to thunderous applause.

Note: when taking the ring out of the case to hand back to the spectator, make it look like your having a small bit of trouble taking the ring off the hook, thus proving that the ring was tightly in the case, to begin with. (That’s Magic!)

* (oh, I forgot to mention. Go to your local hardware store and get a bunch of those neat multi-colored blank keys and fasten them to the other un-gimmicked hooks in the case. This makes for dynamite and showy presentation when you finally fling open the case at the climax!)

Additional ways of obtaining the spectator’s ring.

I. Abbotts Ring Box.(available at Abbotts Magic Mfg.)
2. The old thimble move. (Magic without apparatus by Camille Gaulter, Tarbell Course or I.C.O.M Sleight of Hand Gallery)
3. The Devils Cannister. (No longer available, but was a great method for the stage. I just didn’t like the asbestos lining)

End Notes: The method of Modus Operandi used in this effect is based on an idea I found out later, was originally used by Karrel Fox. But in his version, a Trifold case is used. This version in this utter miracle uses the zipper case. Making the effect, handling, and the impact on the audience different to certain degrees.

Try this at your next kid show! I used to give out monster rings as inexpensive prizes to the kids. Since they were all different colors, I could then borrow one, have the color noted, and proceed with the trick. The kids LOVED it! (Hey, maybe I should do this again? hmmmmm.)

Always take care when borrowing a spectator’s ring. In this day and age, it is not uncommon for someone to claim that you damaged the ring that they lent you. How to eliminate this risk? Unfortunately, there is little you can do other than 1. not perform the effect. or 2. have your own collection of inexpensive rings in a small box (similar to the kid show method), have the spectator choose one, and proceed with the effect. Is this method just as effective? Probably not unless you have a stellar presentation, but it is a lot safer!

Please practice this at least a dozen times before performing it. Such an effect does not deserve anything less.

According to the late Al Koran, whose magical genius is legendary, the perfect place for a ring flight is either in the middle of your act or to close it. It is that Powerful.

May 2000

This month as well as next month I will be featuring two “previously marketed effects” of mine from a decade ago. These two effects are actually the two “first” effects I ever released and both were well received within the magic community. I have included the “actual instruction sheets” from the effects with the only addition being the inclusion of instructions on making the necessary props. I hope you enjoy them…BJG

(Visible Card Index Wallet)
Bobby J. Gallo

You will need to obtain an inexpensive bill-fold type wallet. These can be found at any dollar store and are usually made out of vinyl to look like leather. The inside must have the obligatory plastic sleeves where pictures, credit cards, and identification usually reside.

Now, take scissors and cut a small “V” notch in each of the plastic sleeves so that any card or slip placed into the sleeve can be easily removed in a few seconds without fumbling. Do this with all the sleeves. Cutting the notches in locations that will make it easy for you to locate them when the time comes. Then fill the sleeves with pictures, cards, or I.D. to make the wallet look genuine and normal.

The wizard displays a handsome leatherette wallet. Out of this wallet he shows a prediction business card, back towards the audience. He replaces the card in the wallet for all to see. The Wizard then asks the spectator to choose any ESP symbol, color or single-digit number*. When they finally do this, the prediction card is taken out of the wallet AND IT IS SHOWN TO BE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT IN MATCHING THE SPECTATOR’S CHOICE!!! (Remember, the choice by the spectator is Free) “NO FORCES”

This effect seems to good to be true. To the audience, there seems to be no way that trickery exists. But remember the unique construction of the wallet, you will see that the windows that normally carry your credit card, pictures and I.D. Are now a visible Index that lies right under the spectators nose. First you will need a number of your own business cards. Put on them a number of ESP symbols etc (* as above). Then load each one into one of the windows in the wallet. On the reverse side of the card, put a card, picture or I.D. in the window so that it covers the the prediction side. repeat this procedure with all the windows Now make a duplicate set of the E.S.P symbols, etc. for your performance. You are now set to perform an impossibility.

Spread your second set is prepared cards out on your table or if working on a platform have your assistant hold them up high. Use a great deal of showmanship in having one of the symbols selected and placed into the wallet. Tell the audience that you are doing this merely to show that you cannot tamper with it in any way (which is exactly what you ARE doing!).

When it is finally known that a decision is reached and the secret move has taken place, ask the spectator if he is really satisfied with his choice. What you are really doing is locating his card in the index and pulling it out while you are pattering.

After you locate the card, take the phony prediction and slide it into the back of the sleeve into the inner lining of the wallet (this should just take a few moments) Now close the wallet around the correct prediction that you have taken out of the index. bring the wallet down to the table and slide it out. Proceed to show that you are correct and bow.

This is one of those moves that takes so long to explain but in reality, takes just a few moments. Try it and you’ll see. It is one of the cleanest prediction effects possible.


  • Show phony prediction, back towards the audience.
  • Place in the wallet in back inner lining sleeve out of sight or wherever you can hide it quickly.
  • Ask spectator to make a choice.
  • Locate the choice in the index and pull it out in the two blinks of an eye.
  • Reveal it to the audience and be prepared for millions of screaming fans!

April 2000

The Card Putter
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is an effect that is equally effective with kids as it is for adults for two entirely different reasons. Just do me one favor. Before you jump ahead to read the method, please visualize the effect that it would have on an audience.

The magician has a card selected from a shuffled deck and returned to same. The deck is again shuffled and then tossed face down on the floor where the cards are scattered with the performers foot over an area of about 4 ft. square.

A golf putter is then introduced. If performing for children, this can be a miniature golf putter. What child cannot relate to miniature golf? Of course you would tailor your presentation accordingly.

The performer then places a golf ball on the floor and with a great deal of concentration, puts the ball toward the cards where it then comes to rest on or near one card. The other cards are then cleared away very fairly and slowly so there is no mistake as to which card the ball is resting upon. When that card is picked up and turned around, it is seen to be the selected card!!! This blows them away big time!

Don’t hate me for the simplicity of this stellar presentation that can actually play on the largest of stages! Besides the putter and ball, it uses a one-way forcing deck! (deck where all the cards are the same) Yep, that’s it! So it doesn’t matter where the ball lands when you put it. It will always be the selected card. Sneaky huh?

So with the phenomenal popularity of golf these days, do yourself a favor and give this a try. And if by chance you work in country clubs, Card Putter is the absolute best trick on the planet.

Well, it looks like it didn’t take too long to explain this one, but sometimes the real good tricks are the simple ones. That doesn’t mean this will not take some practice hitting the ball so that it will at least stop rolling within your 4-foot circle. And since the method is so easy, I expect each and everyone reading this to put together an academy award-winning presentation for it!

Remember, this I.C.O.M Beginner’s Study trick may become the highlight of your show, and that would be a real hole in one!

March 2000

Easy Encore Card Stab
Bobby J. Gallo

In his book “Professional Presentations – Supreme”, The late great Al Koran explains the routine that he used as his encore effect. The one trick that could top even his closing effect. It was a card trick called The ENCORE CARD STAB. It went something like this. A spectator would select a card and place it in his pocket. Al would then say that he could not locate the card due to the fact that the spectator was holding it so instead he would find the card that was opposite the card in the audience members’ pocket. For instance, if the card was the five of clubs he would locate the five of spades, etc. etc. After much by-play, he would pick-up a butter-knife from one of the tables (these were always available due to the fact that he was a supper-club magician). He would then thrust it into the pack locating the card that was opposite the spectator’s, then revealing it with as much drama as he could muster.

I will not reveal “his” method because it is not my ethical right to do so. If you want to learn Al’s method you will have to locate the very hard to find, now out of a print copy of “Professional Presentations” to do so. But even if you had the good fortune to find a copy (it’s one of my favorites), good luck. Why do I say that? Well, being very intrigued by the fact that there existed a card trick that had the power to act as an encore, I set out to learn it and put it to use. When I read Al’s method I nearly fell over from shock. It was incredibly involved, made the use of a “stacked deck”, using the butter knife as a “shiner”, and a method of locating the opposite card that was anything but dependable. So much so that Al gave “outs” in the likely event that the trick did not even work! But hey, that’s the price you pay for a miracle I guess!

That being the case, I set out to develop the exact same presentation but with a method that would work 100% of the time so that I could devote all of my effort to the presentation. This is what I came up with.

To perform this trick, merely locate two opposite cards (let’s say the five of clubs and the five of spades). Place one on top of the deck in preparation for the “Slip-Cut Force” (See I.C.O.M Forcing Primer in the Archives), and the other five anywhere in the deck with sizable “Crimps”(See I.C.O.M Glossary) in the corners of the card.

Now, “False Shuffle” the cards keeping the top card intact. Execute the Slip-force, have it noted and ask the spectator to place it in his pocket. Now take a butter-knife (always use a dull knife. Even Al was wise enough to point this out in his book!) Hold the deck by the ends and you will easily spot the crimps in the card you are looking for. Guide the knife blade slowly under the card (easy due to the crimps) and insert it. Now cut the deck at this point and have the audience note the card that you “randomly?” cut to. Then have the audience name the card that “should” be in the spectator’s pocket. Have him/her take out the card and dramatically reveal it to the audience……….. I think Al is smiling!

February 2000

Impromptu Marked Deck
Bobby J. Gallo

At first reading, the I.C.O.M members may dismiss the method as being “too simple”. Indeed, this lesson is more about a “method”, “technique” or “modus operandi” than it is a particular trick. But please keep in mind that this way of gaining knowledge of a selected card has been used by no less a legend than England’s celebrated Al Koran who used it with teacups rather than playing cards. It has also appeared in ancient texts such as “Hermann’s Wizards Manual” So we know that it is at least 100 years old.

The magician asks a spectator to select a card from a shuffled deck and note it’s value. He/she is then asked to hand it to the magician “face down” in the magician’s palm. The magician takes a moment to study the weight of the card and then asks the spectator to take it back and bury it into the deck of cards. The cards are now shuffled.

The cards are taken by the magician and dealt onto the table slowly and deliberately. The magician taking time to carefully weigh each one in the hand. At one point the performer stops, dramatically turns over a card and it proves to be the selection!

Requirements and method:
Needed is a “well-worn deck of cards”. You will notice that after a bit of handling, most decks of cards will develop all sorts of markings on the faces and backs. You might say that they turn themselves into an impromptu MARKED DECK! and that is the secret.

The key to success in this method is to perform this slowly (dramatically). Once the spectator selects a card and you have it placed face down on your palm, you pretend to note the weight of the card. You are in fact examining the back of the card for any telltale mark! With a little practice, this becomes very easy. I myself have used this method in gambling demonstrations and found it to be VERY effective. The rest is just pure showmanship.

It is easy for me to see why this would be such a popular method 100 years ago. I imagine new decks of playing cards were harder to come by (not to mention expensive) and thus almost all of the decks’ magicians used would be prime for this trick. But in our modern-day and age, this is a gem that is perfectly suited to those occasions where you would borrow a deck of cards from a friend or at a party. Little do they know that they indeed have in their possession a professional MARKED deck of cards…

January 2000

“Magic Under Cover Work”
Ronald J. Dayton

What a bizarre title for a discussion of magic…wouldn’t you agree!? But it seemed logical enough to me when you consider I intend to talk about silks. They are, after all, the most widely used object with which to cover another prop I can think of other than the hands themselves.

I would imagine that the number of effects created for, and using silks in combination with other props is surpassed only by the number of card effects we have at our disposal. Silks are so beautiful and elegant by nature, they hold strong appeal for all individuals in your audience. In particular, they are enjoyed by women. This is important for the performer because you want to include and please as many spectators as possible. Things of a more romantic nature tend to draw the ladies more deeply into your routine.

Those among you who have never worked with silks before may well wonder just that the range of their potential may be. Some members of the magic community who are more knowledgeable than I may disagree…but I firmly believe that the purchase of a number of quality silks in varying sizes and weights may well be one of the most significant purchases you can make for yourself. Your first purchase however should be the three-volume set of books…Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic. This is a veritable treasure trove of information. You will learn not only hundreds of effects…but more importantly, the care and handling of your silks. That knowledge alone will allow you to protect your investment in silks, and they could well last you your entire performing career.

Silks will achieve almost any effect you can name in magic. They are used in color changes and blendo effect, productions, vanishes, transpositions…burned and restored, cut and restored. Performers have presented growing and shrinking silks, silk fountains, animated and self-tying silks. Color choice effects fall into the realm of mentalism. Silks have been transformed into liquids, caught at fingertips, floated and danced in mid-air. When tied to a cord or ribbon length, silks of different colors will visibly release themselves when their color is named. Silks have penetrated rings and ropes, cards, coins, and wands…and in turn, have been penetrated by wands and burning candles themselves. Printed drawings on silks have visibly changed while the corners were held at the fingertips of the hands.

Almost every object you can name within reason has either vanished, transformed, or been produced from beneath a silk. In certain card effects, silks have been created to reveal the value of the chosen card. Beautiful Dragon Silks have graced the stages, and been used as foulards for the floating Zombie Ball. Dramatic dancing silk routines have been presented by men such as Copperfield. Classics such as the Sympathetic Silks, and Patriotic Silk Blendo effects as well as presentations such as Soft Soap routines have been offered for our enjoyment. Incredibly beautiful printed silks and streamers have been used as backdrops for the grand finales to large stage productions.

There are also many marvelous ways in which to ‘gimmick’ a silk to enhance or indeed, enable you to create a given effect. One of the first to come to mind of course is the thread attachment. The hem of a silk will also allow thin wires and things of this nature to be inserted. Snap fasteners, velcro, and magnets may be positioned where needed on the silk to facilitate its attachment to another object, silk or pull. I have an opening silk production at fingertips of my own creation in which one end of several rolled silks are attached to each fingernail of my hand with rubber cement. A bit extreme perhaps…but, very effective and unexpected.

Silks of course may be altered by sewing in special pockets or forming the halved silk into a container itself. Many brilliant pieces of magic are made possible by attaching the end of a reel to a silk. Entire booklets have been produced on the subject, and are readily available through your favorite dealer. Booklets are also available detailing entire routines with silks and related objects. With a bit of work and thought, entire acts can be created around the majestic silk.

This entire discussion may well seem a bit trite to those who have been around magic for a while… but I felt it was a worthwhile topic to bring to the attention of those among you who are just learning to walk before they can run. The economics of the purchase of silks…quality silks, may dictate that you buy only one or two at a time…and gradually build your supply. The good ones are not cheap. But as with any quality prop…your investment will be repaid many fold. The silk is one of the most diversified articles of magic I can think of. It may be combined with a greater number of other props than any I can think of. And, as I have stated earlier…there is not one effect I can name which the proper silk or streamer will not achieve.

Buying ‘tricks’ is the initial compelling thought in the mind of most beginning magicians…but in all honesty…it is not the best way to go. A single trick, unlike a specific prop or utility device, is nothing more than a single trick. Very few can be expanded upon to give the novice magician good dollar value. Things such as a thumb tip…top-it, a wand, silks, ropes, rings, certain mechanical coins, and cards all provide good value as physical props. They are tools to be used with the most valuable purchase you can make in my estimation…and that is BOOKS ! Videotapes are an excellent second choice as well.

This is where the very heart of magic can be discovered. Books are the element that allows you to breath life into the physical props you have gathered. And the physical props we assemble have a definite order of value and range as well, which will be discovered as your knowledge of the art increases. It is our task to determine their worth to us as individuals and performers. I am certain that silks will be very, very high on the list.


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 1997,1998,1999,2000 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.

Kid Show Konservatory 7/99-12/99


Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!

December 1999

Kard Tricks For Kids III
Bobby J. Gallo

Double Lift

Last month I stated that one of the only card feats appreciable by younger audiences is the color change. There is no doubt as to its effectiveness as far as adults are concerned, but it is equally appropriate, if not more so, for kids.

When this point is arrived in the routine, I ask the kids, “what are the only two colors in a deck of cards?” Most will know this answer and yell out that they are red and black. If some get picky and mention the blue backs of some cards or the yellow as part of the kings clothing, ignore them or come up with a clever comedic line.

I then proceed to look for and pull out a red ace, asking them what color it is. When they say red, I turn its back towards them, and have them all give a collective magical blow. “Just like blowing the candles out on a birthday cake” I say. Then when the card is turned over I pretend not to notice that it has changed to an ace of spades (black ace). This gets a tremendous reaction.

There are two ways I do the color change depending on my mood and both are just as good as far as the kids are concerned. The first involves the use of the old trusty double lift as pictured above. When looking through the cards to find your red ace, actually locate a red ace and the ace of spades. I always use te ace of spades for the black card because when it is revealed, it seems to be a more dramatic card than the ace of clubs due to the oversized spade pip in the center. Remember, little things can mean a lot.

I then double lift both cards to show the red which in reality has the spade hidden behind it. While talking replace both cards back down on the deck and lift the spade up again keeping the back twoards the audence and proceed with the trick.

The second way is with the old standard top-change. The presentation stays the same.

Next Month: Continuing the routine.

Top Change

November 1999

Kard Tricks For Kids Part II
Bobby J. Gallo

In This illustration the cards are fanned with the fingertips. This is a personal choice whether or not to use this method of to use the traditional “Thumb Fan” method.

Step Three:
Diminishing Cards

After you have completed the fanning series, ask the audience if they ever saw a deck of cards “shrink”? As you are saying this, once again execute a thumb fan. After they respond, close the fan and ptremendous to squeeze it by the long edges, then execute the diminishing fan. This is very easily done by merely placing the thumb of hand holding the deck closer to the center of the backs of the cards rather than at the bottom where is is traditionally placed when creating a thumb fan. By changing the “pivot point” the thumb fanned cards are spread out in a smaller radius and appear to have “shrunk.” This will get a huge laugh if you act surprised that is actually worked yourself. A little acting goes a long way.

They reverse the process doing yet another thumb fan to show that they have returned to normal size.

This pretty much marks the end of the exhibition card fanning segment of the routine. Now you are about to perform one of the few tricks that can truly be appreciated by younger audiences. “The Color Change.”

Next Month-Part III

October 1999

Kard Tricks For Kids
Bobby J. Gallo

*One handed-reverse Fan

I’ve heard it said many times that the one thing you NEVER do for a child’s birthday party are CARD TRICKS! It is said that they go over the heads of the children and that the kids simply do not understand the premise that there are 52 cards in deck that are all different and the magician is going to defy the laws of averages and find the selected card.

There is a lot of truth to this no doubt. And I for the longest time subscribed to it. But in recent years, I have actually changed my tune a little realizing that there are card tricks that actually entertain even the youngest of spectators. I now have an entire 10 minute routine for birthday parties, and over the course of the next few months, I will be parceling it out here, bit by bit so you can learn, digest, and perfect each step.

The key to successful card magic with kids is to keep it brisk. No lagging or you will lose them instantly. Also, no pick-a-card tricks with the rare exception of something like the sandwiched card trick (my version) described in the archives. Now, with that, let’s learn step one.

Step One:
What kind of card to use?

Though it isn’t one hundred percent necessary, you should try to obtain a fanning deck. Try to stay away from those oversized ones with dragons on the back. Just a regulation size deck with a four-color change on the back. Abbotts makes a fine one. The cards should also be powdered using the commercial magician’s fanning powder obtainable at any magic shop. Talcum powder can also be substituted but is not quite as good. Powder them once, shuffle them a hundred times to break them in and get all the excess powder out and they will be good for at least a fifty performances before you need to re-powder or get a new deck.

Step Two:
The opening

I take the cards out and ask the kids to identify what they are. They will all say that they are cards. This is important because it will establish to the adults in the audience that the kids know what you are doing. You would not believe how many lay adults will question the wisdom of doing card tricks for kids. Everyone is an expert you see…

The first thing I do is a one-handed fan. With the remark that “magicians do this to fan themselves off during the show”. Follow with appropriate actions and this will get a laugh and show some skill at the same time. Follow this with a thumb fan, show the front of the card and then display the color of the backs. Do a snapback to close the fan. Reverse the cards end for the end while blowing on the cards for effect. Perform another thumb fan and the card backs will have changed color! Pretend surprise and this will get a bigger laugh. Remember to have the kids tell you what color the cards were before and after to get them involved.

Close the fan and do a one-handed reverse fan* to show the faces blank. This will get a mixture of gasps and laughs, again pretend surprise. This will also change the back colors one more time so be sure to show them again.

Finally, riffle half the cards into the left hand and perform a one-handed fan with both the right and left hands. This not only shows skill but will enable you to have a fan of cards in each hand, each with a different color back. Close the fans and you are ready for the real laugh getter!

Next month…..

All of the flourishes I have described can be found in the I.C.O.M Sleight-of-hand gallery located in the Library.

September 1999

” Big Look…Small Space “
Ronald J. Dayton

In this month’s segment of our continuing series of thoughts concerning specific phases of magic I would like you to consider production items. In this instance I am referring to articles produced from a single piece of production equipment such as a Square Circle, Flip Over Box, Jap Box, Buddha Tubes, Phantom Tubes and the like.

Items such as glasses of liquid, livestock, candles etc. are impressive…and perhaps one such article might be considered in a given production depending upon your audience. But in most pieces of production equipment, concealment space is at a premium. You must give serious thought to what should be and what should not be produced. The size of the apparatus being considered is also important. Things must remain within predetermined limits.

Let’s begin our examples with a standard piece of equipment…the thumb tip. It is evident that it will hold only so much…so your goal is to maximize the appearance of the production by using something which will pack small, but play big. Which production articles might meet our requirements? Common place items used with great success in the past have been silks of course. Sponge balls are another very compressible item which expands to many times its concealed size, and has good visibility. Larger thumb tips will accommodate the new product…the Vernet Spring Flowers. Special tiny versions of mouth coils are also being sold currently, and make an excellent production. Bigger thumb tips will also hold multiples of folding coins which make for an interesting and unexpected production. False fingers, although rarely used these days are yet another consideration to extend the size of your hidden load. Granular materials such as salt for Long Salt Pours, and glitter used in a similar way create the illusion of greater quantity.

If we were to move up a notch or two to the area of top hats for instance…the chamber which will hold a given load is much larger, and our choices are larger as well. Depending upon the method used to introduce the load, the use of livestock as well as compressible inanimate articles may be combined. From within a hat you could easily produce silks…sponge balls, spring flowers, spring bills. appearing canes and flag staffs, pop dice, rubber production items, etc…then bring forth the rabbit. Just when they think you are done, the hat is tipped and a large hat coil billows forth from inside…giving ample cover once it is gathered to steal and produce a dove or two if you’d like.

Many articles are made to nest, one within another. These have been used for decades to create the impression of more from less. Nesting alarm clocks and bottles have been standards for magicians for years as have feather flower bouquets. The English have used inverted pie tins decorated to resemble rich Plumb Puddings for productions. The tins of course, nesting nicely within one another. If you look around, and keep an open mind, I am sure you will find things which can be changed in just such a manner to create new and original nesting productions items for your own use.

Speciality articles have also been produced…objects made of rubber and latex which are easily compressible, but will still expand to create the illusion of a full size object when needed. You may find everything from rubber bottles of catsup and beer to melons, bananas, doves and even a suckling pig !

But we have been thinking in terms of some pretty specialized production items. What is available to the average person which is taken from everyday life? Paper or cloth fans are quite nice…as are parasols of all sizes. They fold down small…but open wide. When I was fifteen years old…one of the finale’ productions from a large Square Circle I had constructed myself was that of twenty-four one foot diameter paper parasols…and one three footer. It really brought necessary and ahhs when produced in rapid fire fashion. I have a news clipping of myself and the prop somewhere. Perhaps if I dig it up some time, I’ll send it to Bobby and see if he’d care to use it in I.C.O.M. <G> (Love to have it Ron <VBG>….BJG)

Most of this may seem very basic. In many ways, it is. But the point being made in the choices you make for production items will become part of your thinking as well when it comes to picking effects you want to perform. In time you would discover that big heavy props do not necessarily translate to big impact on the audience. You learn to minimize the size and weight of the props you present your magic with. You find things that pack flat, and set-up fast. You learn what really captures the imagination of your audience, and what does not. It takes alot of leg work…and a fair share of disappointments as well. All of magic is a learning experience, if you are paying attention.

Aside from the illusion show performers who seem quite content to lug around several tons of bulky equipment…take a close look at your average close-up or cabaret performer. They usually do a walk on with little more than an attache case. A few small side tables may hold a parlor magic size prop. Often the prop, and the tables upon which they are perched will fold flat and travel light. These are absolutely essential considerations if you are doing back-to-back shows for different groups.

One final thought. While it is true that card productions pack small and play relatively large, as to effects such as the Snow Storm In China….unless details have been worked out in advance… it is really very wise not to make a mess. You may not have time to clean up after yourself…and, worse yet…you may be laying the groundwork for potential accidents or injuries to any act which may follow yours. Be prudent. Be considerate. If you do, you may avoid a call being made to your lawyer. Topper Martin may be the exception…but the rest of us will not fare as well.

Co-Directors Notes: It was I who bold and italicized certain sections of the above as what I feel is particularly important. Well done Ron! I could not agree more with the entire lesson, especially the thoughts on the snowstorm effect!!!….BJG

August 1999

” The Refracted Pencil “
Ronald J. Dayton

During my recent three and a half month stay in a hospital, out of sheer boredom I was seated at a large, dark wood table with thick glass top. The effect was that of a dark background mirror. The open window was in front of me, and of course, the remainder of the relatively dark room was to my back.

There was a pencil lying on the table top, and I noticed that the image of the pencil as reflected in the ‘table like mirror ‘ looked refracted, or broken into three distinct images, a center core, which was about one third the thickness of the pencil, and two shadow like images on either side of it.

I wondered what the image looked like from the side nearest the source of light, and much to my delight, the image was solid and in tact, not refracted like from the shadowed or non light source side.

It occurred to me that this was a novel application of an impromptu optical illusion using two simple objects, a mirror, and a pencil or pen…coupled with a light source. The idea being that you state that you can cause a solid pencil to appear split into three parts, or look solid as you wish by simply placing it on a mirror.

I hope that you do not feel this was a waste of your time to read, since it is not really magical, but perhaps this minor observation will lead you to experiment with the principle, and see what results you achieve.*

As my first new thought to I.C.O.M in over three months, this may seem a bit weak…but I hope to improve my standing as time goes on, and I get back into the swing of things. Best of luck to you, and may this suggestion lead to powerful ideas on your part. Perhaps what works with a pencil will work with coins , dice or other objects. Give it some thought.

Co-Directors Notes:*Are you kidding Ron? A waste of Time? I am sure that most I.C.O.M members will realize that what you are giving them is a REAL lesson in magic. If we can get all magicians to start thinking like you, the magical world would see the biggest boom in new effects in the history of prestidigitation. Thanks Ron, This is priceless in my opinion. And we are all VERY GLAD you are back!….BJG

” Additional Thoughts On String Thing “
Ronald J. Dayton

Last month we discussed the Chinese Sticks at some depth, but I felt as if there were still more objects that might logically be tied to the ends of the strings on the sticks to expand patter and presentation possibilities. Here are a few more:

Small plastic space ships, lunar landers, or toy astronaughts ( possibly in a zero gravity situation.) Toy submarines, scuba divers, hot air balloons, clear plastic balls representing soap bubbles…dollar bills to indicate the stock market, and the rising and dropping value of US currency in the global market. Kangaroos. Two mock report cards with some grades being high, and others, low. Tiny loaves of bread, rising and falling in the oven.

I know this is still a partial list. But I hope someone out there will pick up the gauntlet, and see how many more you can list and put to practical use.

July 1999

” A String Thing “
Ronald J. Dayton

Years ago, variety stores…in particular, the Ben Franklin Stores, were known as Five and Dimes. A youngster could go into one with a dollar or so burning a hole in his pocket…and very likely come out with a nifty toy or two.

The store I frequented also had a counter top, rotating metal rack upon which hung various novelty items and tricks from S.S. Adams Company. They were the same fine people who made Joy Buzzers and Whoopie Cushons available. The novelties were fun of course, and I bought my share…but it was the magic I was most strongly attracted to. One of the first I ever bought cost me about thirty-nine cents. It was called, The Cord Pillar.

I had no idea that this effect was a plastic model of an item manufactured and carried in the catalogs of none other than Floyd Thayer. The Thayer pillars were fashioned of wood, and very well made. Even when they were available, the price being asked was only twenty-five cents!

The Thayer Cord Pillars consisted two small wooden pillars, joined at one end so they could be swung apart, or spread like the slats in a hand held fan. At the end opposite the joined end , a length of cord ran through small holes in each pillar. With the pillars together, the cord could be pulled back and forth, proving it was one continueous length. The blade of a knife was then inserted between the two pillars, and the string apparently cut in half. When the pillars were slid apart, the severed halves of the string could be seen. Then, by using a bit of magic, the pillars were closed, and the cord once again pulled freely back and forth between them.

I have taken a few moments to tell you about this clever pocket trick because I feel it is closely related to the effect we are going to discuss this month…The Chinese Sticks. The name Thayer originally gave these sticks was The Wands of Mah-Hoe. And the reason I firmly believe that there is a connection between the Sticks and the Pillars was because of the progression of thought and marketed effects within the Thayer Company. The Wands of Mah-Hoe came first, followed by the Mystery Sticks of Peng Yeng, The Devil’s Pillars, and eventually, the Cord Pillars.

The Wands of Mah-Hoe are basically one and the same as the modern effect known as the Chinese Sticks. The apparatus consists of two wand like sticks. At the front end of each, a string runs through the bottom and out the top of the tip. One string is long and the other is short. Each string has a tassel at one end, and a bead at the top.

You hold the sticks close together, side by side in one hand at the ends opposite the tasseled strings. When the short string is pulled on…it gets longer, and the long string gets proportionately shorter. The string pulls are alternated several times until the audience begins to think that the string runs through both sticks. To quell this suspicion, you separate the wands at the front…then holding in sort of a V shape in one hand. Again the strings are pulled…again, one grows in length as the other shrinks. Now the audience is convinced that the string must run down inside one wand, out the end and across to the other wand…then up to its front tip. After a bit of by-play, you separate the wands again…proving there is no connection. Placing and holding one of the wands under your arm…the othe hand reaches over and pulls on its short string. The string of the wand under your arm lengthens, and the string of the wand held in the other hand gets short. That my friends is the mystery of the Chinese Sticks.

These sticks or wands have been available in a variety of styles. Some were made to resemble sticks of Bamboo…others were square metal tubes which prevented them from rolling off your table…and eventually, modern plastic injection has brought us to the sticks still popular today. A small set may be purchased for three or four dollars I guess. Maybe a bit more, but they are worth every penny. The construction relies on a couple of internal sliding weights which control the lengths of the cords. Properly handled, the Chinese Sticks are a mystery to be sure. The mechanisms are silent, and the effect highly visual.

I offer as proof that the sticks are of value the fact that they too have been thought about and modified to create still newer versions of the theme. Although methods are drastically different, the ‘look’ of such effects as the Devil Stick, and The Pom Pom Pole ring true to the original wands of the 1930’s. Not at all strange when you consider that The Wands of Mah-Hoe were very possibly influenced by a popular Parlor effect which preceded by quite a number of years…the Pillars of Soloman.

Students of I.C.O.M may, if they wish, purchase their own set of sticks from our on line magic store. If you do…I would very much like to make some suggestions…to give a few ideas which might inspire you to find new and different routines of your own for the Chinese Sticks.

We already know the basic premise. One long string, one short. Pull on one, it becomes long, and the other automatically becomes short. Process is repeated a few more times to build suspicion in your audience. That’s just fine if you happen to want to present the effect exactly as it has been done for decades. But what I would like you to think about now is what sort of object might be attached to the ends of the cords in place of the tassell which will give you the opportunity to generate new patter ideas…and presentational possibilities. What can you think of that might logically hang from a string or cord?

Perhaps for younger children in your audience, you might consider attaching ‘cute’ looking rubber spiders. Don’t use ones which will frighten them…because your patter will be based on the Miss Muffet nursery rhyme. For older children or adults…go ahead and use scary looking spiders. Weave what ever tale you can to fit the new Arachnid-Sticks you are using.

What about yo-yo’s, or maybe even small plastic soldiers who are in training, and climb and repell down steep cliffs ? For the holidays, Ornaments might well be hung from strings. Mountain climbers and rescue workers dangle from ropes from time to time. In each of these instances, you have built in, logical opportunities to devise patter which will make your presentation different from all others. Some more examples are; elevator cars which dangle from cables….the scoop shovels on excavating cranes…or fish on the lines of fishing poles. There are a lot of possibilities. I’m sure I have missed quite a few. It will be up to you to figure things out…and change the sticks and their handlings to suit your style and needs. Perhaps one day, I will see you performing your version on the stage of some club or theater. Make the search for a method an adventure.

Wow Ron, This is platinum!….BJG


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Secret Passageway 7/99-12/99

In the dark recesses of the “International Conservatory of Magic”, a brave member has just entered…


This Forum Is Rated PG

Introduction to this forum,

Magic has many facets and tastes. This area may not be for everyone, but then again YOU may not be everyone! This area is devoted to magic on the spooky side. It may deal with dark imagery and SUPERNATURAL themes. Due to overwhelming demand, we have included a forum devoted to this branch of the magical arts that has been coined, “Bizarre Magic”. This is theatre, plain and simple, and was a wildly popular form of magic around the beginning of the 20th century. It is STILL popular among many people as a way to bring more drama to magic.

The “Shadows” segments are a collection of previously unreleased original Bizarre publications that will appear quarterly. The artwork for “Shadows” are original and include a poem to set the mood for the coming months written by Ronald J. Dayton. With an added quote from noted writers.

“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.

A single candle is a lonely light. Its sphere of influence is limited. Its very life is consumed by degrees. The wax of even the brightest eventually trickles down ….. returning us to darkness, sealing our fate.

A thought is like a candle’s flame. If it is shared… if it is passed along…perhaps others can benefit, and perhaps, the original light may never fully die.

These pages are my candle. I pass them on to you.

Ronald J. Dayton 11-18-93

“Like our shadows, our wishes lengthen as our sun declines.”

Between this and September’s routine, your Halloween party will be the talk of the town!

October 1999

How to Haunt a Shed
Bobby J. Gallo

What do you offer the Secret Passageway during the month of October? That’s the question. Well, upon thinking I was reminded that this is the month of Halloween parties and with them, lots of fun and decorating.

This is an offering to add something a little special for your party this year. A mini-haunted house. Upon reading the title you may be thinking. “What does he mean by a shed?” Well, when I was young, we often had back-yard carnivals where all the neighborhood kids would come and play games for the used toys we wanted to get rid of. This once a year event was highlighted by the once attraction that I was in charge of….The haunted house. However, it wasn’t a house, but rather the aluminum shed in the back of the yard that we temporarily cleaned out so as to make into our house of horrors.

So how did we take what was essentially a 12 X 12 room and make it into a terror filled world of nightmares? Here is a step by step plan of it and how you can do something similar with a single room in your home. Incidentally, we were told by adults that went through it that they were frightened beyond reason…then again, maybe they were just trying to make us feel good! <G>

  • Have a cassette recorder with one of those great halloween cassette sound effect tapes going. Screams, wind howling, the works.
  • Decorate the room with as many halloween decorations as you can find. Only scary stuff though. The room must be totally black with the exception of a black light lit on the other side of the room. Remember, people are afraid of the dark.
  • Use a rather large white bed sheet to partition the room down the center so you create a “U” that they have to walk around. This is better than having them just walking into the room and looking around. That element of mystery of what lies behind that sheet is worth everything.
  • At the entrance place a small card table is covered with a cloth. To enter the haunted room they have to get down on their hands and knees and crawl under the table. This give them a sense of vunerability.
  • As soon as they rise, have threads hanging from the ceiling, they will rise up right into them and feel like they are caught in a spiders web.
  • Have you or a friend in a rocking chair on the other side of the sheet dressed like the grim reaper, vampire, devil, or dead guy. When they walk around the corner, turn on a bright flashlight or strobe-light ( if you can find one) toward them and let out a shriek…so will they <G>.
  • As they are exiting, thank them for coming by shaking their hands with a handful rubber worms. You may be able to find these are the bait and tackle shop. People hate slimy things.

Bet ya just can’t wait huh?

September 1999

Most of you are already aware that the number one movie sweeping the country right now is the “Blair Witch Project”. If you ask me, this months featured routine by Ron Dayton is far more frightening. Seriously! If I were to present this, I would actually feel compelled to tell the audience that it is just entertainment beforehand. I think the following work is brilliant, maybe too brilliant….BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

1. Your reputation has preceded you by now, and those brave souls who dare to accept an invitation to your home are aware that there is no limit to the degree of vulnerability they may witness. They know of your diverse and arcane interests. Perhaps that is part of the alure that keeps them coming back. Perhaps they simply live with reckless abandon…and tempt the fates with each visit.

2. It comes then as no surprise to them as they enter your dimly lit but opulently appointed living room to see items considered ‘unusual’ to most, atop the highly polished coffee table in front of the couch.

3. Apparently, during leisure moments before their arrival, you had been reading from several antiquated ancient tomes. Your hunger for knowledge is insatiable, and your collection of books is quite impressive. The titles there before them deal with the reading of Rune Stones, passages from the Egyptian Books of the Dead to a study of contamination of wheat during the times of the Salem trials.

4. Also on the table is a long, narrow chest such as might well hold a Mariner’s eyeglass, or possibly a scroll. The wood is obviously old and rough hewn…the leather hinges visibly cracked by age and the elements, but still in tact. There is a burning candle in an ornate holder, A silver bell with a long, rich wood handle…several sheets of onion paper stationary, a pen and a deck of Tarot Cards. And if you wish, at one or more tables in the room, small pots of sandalwood incense add a bit of flavor to the proceedings as well. A low, straight back chair is positioned at your side of the table, facing the guests seated on the couch. A second, similar chair sits at the end of the coffeetable immediately to your right.

5. After your guests have been assembled, and have made themselves comfortable on the couch…you approach one of the young ladies and ask if she would mind assisting you with something a bit frightening…and slightly bizarre. You promise to do your best to prevent any harm from befalling her.

6. Taking her by the hands to help her from the couch, you lead her to the chair at the end of the table and help her to take her seat. It is now that you begin weaving your story about a recent acquisition you have made.

7. ” You are all well aware that my interests are greatly varied…and some would even say, border on the extreme. That being the case…there is little hope for change. I have done many things, and taken my share of chances in this search for the ultimate truth. Some I am not pleased or proud of. But we all have our frailties, imperfections and hidden sins. I’ve never tried to be a martyr. Nothing more really than the man you see. And I know, perhaps even with a bit of reluctance, you have accepted me for who I am. But tonight, I warn you, I may betray that trust. There are forces afoot this very night that compell me to see how much you are truly willing to gamble.

8. With that ominous opening statement, you proceed to open the long chest and remove what appears to be an ancient rolled scroll. It has a musty smell to it like heavy moss. The paper looks so brittle that the mere act of removing its from its case could easily destroy it. You hold it aloft as you explain further.

9. ” None of the objects you see upon this table are here by chance. I’m certain you had already reached that conclusion on your own, astute individuals that you are. The books, as always, are an important part of my research. They tell me of man’s timeless concerns for his mortal soul…and the battles waged against the forces of evil. In every instance, the interpretations point to but one entity, one singular lord of the underworld. And although he was know by many names …he was still but one. And his name was “The Fallen One.”

10. ” I have fought this dark prince on many occasions as you well know. More than once, he almost bested me. He is cunning beyond measure…and will use his promises and clever ways to decieve you.”

11. ” This scroll, you see, is my final proof to those among you who are still not quite sure. Those among you who think they are too smart to become one of Lucifer’s pawns. I tell you now that I have been assured…this article is the genuine thing. It’s pungent smell and decaying condition reflect the personage that penned it in unholy sacrificial blood.. I will read from it, and you shall see for yourself. “

12. ” I would tempt a brave and clever mortal. A game of chance and little more. Wilst thou play a harmless game? There is you see, so much to gain.

Should you win…and the odds be good, wealth and power shall be yours, your wildess dream and highest goal fulfilled without question.

I seldom win…and often lose. Weigh your options, then, pass or choose. For what I seek is a pound of flesh. Your soul be mine upon your death.

All eyes are on the lady. Answer quickly, what do you say? Will you try my little game of chance…or will you walk away?

13. With a bit of prodding and kidding from her friends, and not wanting to ruin the party… the lady will consent all be it, hesitantly. You then continue reading from the scroll, rolling it down by careful degrees. Treating it like the rare artifact it is proported to be.

14. ” SO MOTE BE IT ! The rules of the game are these. The person who has called you here this night shall be my unworthy agent. Trust him, I never have…but this day, he will suffice. (Pause ) The Tarot Deck will be the tool. It’s pastboards mixed, and a selection made of three. It is chance, and the cards which hold your fate, not I. The odds embrace you, and should bring your comfort. It has always been thus. (Pause) Do your best then worthless host to rob me of my prize. I have writ in blood what I percieve at the bottom of this scroll. Play now the game, and later see who it was to reach their goal.”

15. The scroll is set next to its box as you pick up the Tarot Deck and mix them well. Holding the deck face down in your left hand, the right hand first finger and thumb begin pulling small blocks of cards off the face of the deck, and lying them face down in a stack. The removal and stacking goes on until the female guest tells you to stop as she had been instructed when you began the mix. The cards in the left hand are turned over, revealing the card, THE FOOL as the first selection arrived at. It is peeled off, and laid face up on the table as the left hand stock is turned face down and placed on top of the stack of face down disgards. Essentially, the deck has been reassembled and squared. Just as in the Mike Fordice card effect, in I.C.O.M’s Feb. 1999 Advanced Lab…the cards are now handled in exactly the same way. At the conclusion, the face down deck is spread to reveal the location of the single face up card, THE FOOL. It and the card at either side of it are removed from the deck and tabled…just as in the Fordice method. The two face down cards are now turned over to reveal the second and third selections…DEATH, and THE DEVIL.

16. If you have tried Mike’s handling, you know how great it looks. Everything is above board, and very direct. No tricky moves to draw suspicion…and yet, all three cards will end up being those of YOUR choosing, and no one elses. In this case, I have simply modified it a bit at the start, using a Glide to pull back the Fool card which is at the front of the deck, followed by the Death Card. The Devil card is on top of the deck. With the Fool being pulled back out of the way, it is easy to pull out small blocks and table them. The Death card is at the front of the first block…so it goes down on the table. All other blocks go on top of the first as they are removed. Since the cards remaining in the left hand are put directly on top of the stack of dis- gards, and the deck squared up…that leaves the Death Card on the front, and the Devil still on the top. The Fool card is inserted part way into the deck at any point as Mike explained, and from that point on, the handling is exactly the same.

17. You now take the pen and a slip of paper and print the names of the three selected cards in a circle in the center of the sheet. Make it at least two inches in diameter. You then pick up the bell, and ring it several times. Then you say…” The choices have been made, and the fates are cast in stone according to the terms of the agreement. If indeed, Satan is in our presence at this moment, let there be a sign.” You raise the bell as you say it, opeing toward the people on the couch in a casual gesture. Setting the bell down a moment, you pick up the slip of paper with the circle of words and hold it several inches above the flame of the candle. Soon, the heat and soot create a black dot in the center. You shout…” The sign is given! He is here”

18. Looking around rather frantically, a bit of panic showing on your face. you lift the bell and try to ring it. It sings a silent song, and will not ring. You point to the black dot on the paper and say to the girl who tempted the fate…” He has claimed his prize. You have been marked!…. Show me your hands.! ” She does so, and screams in disbelief. There on the palm of one hand, is a large black circle of ash. You then slowly unroll the scroll in its entirety…and there at the bottom, printed in deep blood red lettering are the names….THE FOOL…DEATH, and THE DEVIL.


19. That my friends is the basic premise of The Devilish Scrolls. A bit of showmanship, and a lot of hype. All of the elements should be fairly easy to acquire. It may take a bit of work to create the chest and scroll…but your efforts will be well rewarded. The chest might even well be a reworked carrying case for a musical instrument. Give it some thought.

20. The scroll is exactly as it appears…one you have constructed and aged to the best of your ability. The text upon it may be of your own selection. What I have offered is simply an example. Make it look authentic, it will help to sell the total package.

21. The seemingly random and fair selection of three cards has already been explained. We have Mike Fordice to thank for bringing this wonderful method and his variation to light.

22. The ash was placed on the ladies palm when you first assisted her from the couch to join you in this experiment. Fingers below, and thumb on top, you grasp her hands as any gentleman would do. A smudge of cigarette or fireplace ash on the tip of your right middle finger is transfered to the palm of her left hand withou her knowing. By the time we reach the conclusion
of the effect…the incident will be long forgotten.

23. The silent bell is accomplished by simply placing a small but strong piece of earth magnet on the side of the bell nearest you. When you ring the bell, the clapper is swung side to side. When you lift it in your casual gesture…the clapper falls back and is attracted by the magnet.

24. This presentation is a prime example of how simple, basic effects can be blended together to create something really wonderful. What have you executed? Two minor ploys, and a wonderful three card force. But the elements have been chosen to fit a specific theme, and to fit together well. They have transported people to another place, and allowed their imaginations to run free. It became an experience for them rather than just another series of random tricks.

Co-Directors Notes: This is an awesome Halloween party routine and it also has a positive lesson as well. Never make a deal with the Devil!…..BJG

August 1999

This month, our most valued instructor, Ron gave us a fantastic presentation for last months “Box of Prophesy”, so here it is!…BJG

Patter suggestion:
” Prophecy Box “
Ronald J. Dayton

Bring the Prophecy Box into view from its resting place in your left hand jacket pocket you say something along the lines of, ” You know, it’s funny, I carry this darn thing with me everywhere, and I have absolutely no idea why.”

I was browsing around a dusty old re-sale shop, kind of a poor man’s Pawn Shop several years ago. I asked the clerk if they had anything in the line of magic he might be able to show me. this pecular chest is what he handed me.”

The first thing I tried to do was to open it, and discover what was inside, but the hasp was stuck, and I couldn’t get the lid to budge Hey, I said to the old man behind the counter, this thing isn’t magical…it’s just busted.

” I never said it was magical”, he responded, ” but it is sort of mysterious if you ask me. Others have tried to open it before too, but only a hand full seem to have any success. It’s almost as if the box has a will of its own, and only opens to reveal its contents to those it deems worthy.Sounds crazy, I know….but that’s just the way it seems to me.

” I struggled with this box for a good fifteen minutes. It was then that he asked me if I wanted what went with it…and he reached under the counter and handed me this little stick. I was a bit perplexed, and more than a little dismayed because this broken box and a plain stick had just cost me fourteen dollars and fifty cents. Buyer be ‘ware I guess. So all that was left to do was to take my ‘treasure’ home, and show my wife.

When I got it home, she was curious too as to what the box held. Before I had time to warn her about the broken hasp, she o[ened it with ease, and lifted the lid. I won’t tell you what was inside, but I will tell you that it changed our lives forever. Seeing is believing. Here, take the box, and see if it will open for you.”

You hand the closed box to a spectator. They open it, and immediately see the rolled scrolls inside. You then explain that they are to dip the end of the stick into the rows of carefully rolled fortunes, and extract one and only one at random. It will be their personal fortune.

” Read it, but do not reveal it, ‘lest we break the spell it has. This box really is mysterious,, I can attest to that. It allowed you to open it, so…it must want you to have this fortune. Please enjoy your evening…and, I sincerely wish for you that only the very best of tomorrow’s will come to you.”

Spectator is allowed to keep the rolled fortune scroll they chose. You close and take back the Box of Prophecy and the wand, and return it to your left jacket pocket as you depart after saying the few brief, and positive lines in the paragraph above.

July 1999

Box of Prophecy
Bobby J. Gallo

I’ll never for get the day. It was 30 years ago. My family was taking our bi-annual drive to the “Sunshine State” when we stopped for gas at a small filling station on the outskirts of Savanna Georgia. There sat a crusty old man selling hand crafted novelties. I examined his wears and saw that he had many oddities that fascinated me. “What are ya lookin for Sonny?” he said is a raspy voice in-between chews of the the brown plug he had in his mouth.

I asked him if he had any magic tricks? He said he had just the thing. He brought out an old box. When he opened it I saw that it had over 200 miniature scrolls inside. He said this box could tell my future! Fascinated I asked how. He said, “All ya have ta do it thrust this here stick in the box. Whatever little scroll ya git, that’s yer fortune!” I did what he said and lo and behold my fortune was told.

No it wasn’t a magic trick but I had to buy it.

30 Years later I dusted it off and looked at it. After the quaint memory of the situation had subsided, I thought about it and realized that this actually has some real value as something the strolling magician might use. You have all seen my mini fortune telling system for entertainment in the Library, well this could be another great adjuct to the table hopper. After all, when asked to work any job over two hours, it becomes a real challenge to fill time.

To make one of these boxes all you need is a small jewelry box and about 200 strips of paper that bear fortunes! I know what you are thinking and you are right. These are the same fortunes found in every Chinese restaurant in the country in the form of fortune cookies!

You can make the fortunes on the computer, or start collecting them as you go to the Chinese restaurant, but a better idea would be to contact the manufacturer of the fortune cookies and see if you can purchase just the fortunes in bulk form.

Then rent a good video as you undertake the task of rolling them up around a pencil into small scrolls and packing them into the small jewelery box.

Get a small stick or better yet a mini magic wand and you are all set.

I really don’t think a big deal needs to be made of this. I do think however that it is a good idea to have this be the last thing you do at a given table. Because if you follow it with another trick, they will be too busy reading their fortunes to be bothered by another magical marvel.

Tell a fanciful story, have them take a few deep breaths or whatever, and have them thrust the wand into the box. Take out the chosen fortune and leave it with them. Make sure all the fortunes are nice positive ones. Remember, no negatives…..ever!

I can hardly think of anything else that would be more harmless fun for an audience and adds just a bit of different entertainment into your close-up magic.


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 1997,1998,1999 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.

Magic Arcade 7/99-12/99


August 1999

Pom Poms Over The head
Bobby J. Gallo

This is my second journey into the realm if Slydini and one that I am always very nervous to make. Just this week I was blessed with a fourth appearance on a popular television talk show and was asked, “who was the greatest close-up magician who has ever lived?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Tony Slydini” to which the host replied, “Absolutely!

That being said, I bring a great amount of respect to anything I write for this particular section of I.C.O.M. Thought I never had the opportunity to meet the MASTER, I feel that through Bill Wisch and our common heritage, I feel I have a pretty good grasp on the way he thought out his magic.

This month I would like to talk about what is quite possibly the most overused and misused Slydini masterpiece. The Paper Balls Over the Head. Properly done this comedic gem can be and has been a reputation maker for countless professionals. It also has been a favorite with “uncles” everywhere as a means to fool their nieces and nephews.

I do not intend on explaining the various moves involved. For that, you would have to refer to the acclaimed Slydini books for a complete description. Most of you already know that it involves the vanishment of a wad of tissue paper while a spectator is seated in a chair. The magician used superb misdirection while the tissue in question is actually thrown over their head. Much to my dismay, I have even seen a two or three sentence description of this effect in a small beginners book on magic. For shame……..

Should the student wish to include this in their program he or she needs to do two things in my opinion. The first is to get the Slydini book where the routine appears. There is no better source for learning it in the world. And Second, figure out what you would wish to throw over the heads of the spectators! …..Huh?

Slydini used tissue that is very economical and harmless to anything that the ball in fight over the spectator’s head may hit in transit. Slydini was a genius realizing this. But in modern times we have things such as pom-poms that can be had any local craft store. These small objects are the same ones you will see Dr. Om using in this Program course of study.

What are the advantages of Pom Poms for this particular routine? For one they may be more visible due to the fact that they come in bright colors..even neon colors! They don’t’ make a mess and come in varying degrees of size. And are more economical due to the reusability factor.

I actually worked out my own routine where I started out with 1-inch grey pom poms throwing those (these don’t hurt anything that they hit either!) over the head of the spectator. For the finale, instead of a huge wad of tissue-like Slydini did, I took out a 2-inch neon orange pom and made it vanish.

Can you think of anything else you would like to vanish? If so, I’d like to know!!!!!!!!!!


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 1997,1998,1999 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 Spotlight 7/99-12/99


December 1999

This is one of the best lessons I have ever read…BJG

“A Lot Of Pull”
Ronald J. Dayton

I’ve never really taken a lot of time to think about it before, but as a general rule, magicians are people with real pull. And now that I have taken time to think about it…I remember one of the very first pulls I ever owned. It was what is known as a handkerchief pull…rather pear-shaped, container painted flat black. There was a hole big enough to tuck a handkerchief or silk into at the larger end…and a smaller hole at the more narrow end through which a length of the knotted black elastic cord had been threaded. At the opposite end of the cord was a safety pin which could be attached to my clothing. I remember quite vividly how very magical the whole thing looked because it was so unlike most things I had ever seen. It was a silent messenger which spoke to me of the many unusual and amazing devices the world of magic would introduce me to over the years.

But, what is a pull exactly? I would say it is a hidden device, container, holder, or attachment that is connected to either an elastic or standard cord for the express purpose of quickly moving a visibly object to a place of concealment under or within the clothing to create the illusion of its having vanished. When you begin to see how diversified the different styles of pulls are, you will understand the complexity of the definition.

Let’s take, for example, you wish to vanish something as small as a thimble. A standard thimble pull resembled a sort of bell-shaped rubber cap which was attached to a length of black elastic cord with a safety pin at the other end. The pull usually was attached within the sleeve of the performer’s jacket. The rubber cap was held in one hand and the thimble on the first finger of the other hand was pushed into it. When the loosely closed fist of the hand holding the pull was opened, the pull and thimble shot smoothly into the sleeve and out of sight. In a similar way, specially made wire mesh holders, cylindrical in shape, and attached much like the thimble pull were used to vanish lit cigarettes. In this instance, the attachment was often made under the jacket rather than up the sleeve. The fact that the holder had air holes allowed the cigarette to remain lit without going out… and the pull could later be retrieved, and the cigarette reproduced.

The pear-shaped handkerchief pulls I mentioned earlier was also pulled beneath the jacket by an elastic cord. That is, the jacket is usually unbuttoned, allowing the hand and concealed pull to be held near the opening in front of the chest. I did not want to leave you with the impression that the pull somehow went under the lower edge of the jacket.

Certain pulls were hung from the outside back center of the jacket, and the article vanished remained hanging there, out of sight until an opportunity in the programming allowed the performer to step off the stage and have it removed. Depending upon what was being vanished, this was a clever ploy, because it allowed the jacket to be opened and spread wide as proof that the object was not there.

You no doubt noticed that in my definition, I mentioned that the pulls may be a device, holder, or attachment. I stated it that way because some ‘pulls’ employ clips, hooks, suction cups, cat-gut loops, coin purses, magnets, clamps, adhesive discs, and in one interesting example I can recall, even a ladies hair curler!!

Not all pulls are powered by elastic cords. Some rely on direct attachments to cords with counter-weights attached to the opposite ends. When the weight is released and drops, the cord and object are pulled. In yet another style pull, such as used for the vanishing birdcage, and the silk in glass chimney type effects, the cord is attached to the object…it then runs up one sleeve, across the performer’s back beneath his jacket, and down the other sleeve, terminating at a band around the wrist. When the arms are close together, there is slack in the cord. When the arms move apart, or straight out forward…the slack is taken up, and the connection object is pulled rapidly up the sleeve. One exception to the birdcage vanish was done with an elastic pull attached to the cord and object. In this instance, the elastic was attached to a stocking garter type arrangement on the performer’s leg. Rather than going up the sleeve, the cage folded and went into the performer’s trousers! This allowed him to remove his jacket casually, and allow it to be examined. A real fooler for all magicians in the audience who knew how the usual method worked!

One of the most ingenious pulls I have ever seen is a cigarette vanish devised by John Cornelius. I cannot divulge the method to his current market effect on videotape…but I urge you to look into the matter more closely, and purchase the tape for yourself. It is just one of several brilliant original creations he shares.

As I consider this subject more deeply, I find myself wondering; aside from the speed factor… does the gimmick for “Where Do The Ducks Go” apply as well !? Probably not. But it was just a thought.

Pull-like devices and principles have also been used to achieve simulated anti-gravity effects, and magnetism effects as well. Pull-like attachments have also been responsible for the dazzling antics of many a dancing handkerchief. Forms of pulls, powered by a method we have not discussed… a means of winding the thread around a spindle to create a pulling action has also been used for the Spider Card Trick. Special new pulls have been devised by Vernet which allows you to vanish liquids from your bare hands. The method is totally different from a marvelously ingenious pull design called Squash, marketed by Abbott’s Magic Company many years ago, which allowed the performer to vanish a full shot glass of whiskey in the blink of an eye.

Suction cups vanish billiard balls…spring clips vanish fans and even full decks of cards, magnets vanish a variety of coins and other metal objects…given the right combination of pull materials, it seems there is a pull for every occasion. In one clever adaptation…the simple act of releasing the object and allowing it to fall and swing out of sight by the natural force of gravity has been employed. But then, being the clever individual I know you are…perhaps your day will come as well…and you will devise a new and ingenious design all your own. I’ve given you a bit of ammunition…now it is up to you to set your sights.

November 1999

DR. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Artist Part XVI


John Scarne and Joe Vella were notorious for their constant habit of attending the Sport of Kings events, vernacularly known as “Betting on the Ponies.” John would always have Joe hold the cab fare home, in a separate compartment of his wallet, just in case they might have a bad day at the track. On one infamous occasion, after both betting buddies had lost they’re all, John turned to Joe, saying: “Well, I guess we’d better go home; give me the carfare. Joe’s face dropped as he muttered, “I can’t; I just bet that, too.” “You bet that, too?” said Scarne. “You bet that, too? Wadda ya mean, you bet that, too? When the heck are you going to get your act together?”

When are YOU going to get YOUR act together? Being a magician is not merely learning a legion of unconnected “tricks.”


Because both Stage and Close-up magic are for the most part dependent upon props, large and small, with the exception of Impromptu magic performed with found objects, it is imperative that the performing magician is impeccably well organized. Although a checklist is better prepared last after the props are packaged in performance order, for the purpose of discussion, the checklist will be mentioned first, and should contain numbered effects in the order of occurrence in the act, as follows:

1) Identification of effect
2) Prop description
3) Prop location in bag or trunk
4) Bag or trunk location in storage space (room)
5) Program note, not in terms of the commercial prop name, e.g: Multiplying Billiard Balls, but rather a descriptively, originally coined title, such as: “Behind the Eightball” conveying the premise of the routine. The checklist must become the program.
6) Location of the prop in the staging area, i.e. “on stage.”

Small properties should be contained in pouches or purses and should include all objects necessary to perform the effect, in readiness for unpackaging and body loading or placement upon table or servante. Somewhat larger props short of the largest sized illusions, which are better-termed stage furniture or even settings, should be protectively contained in padded cloth bags and boxes, or wrapped in bath towels, before placement in a trunk. The largest illusions, preferably packing flat (but not always), should be protected in the transport vehicle by wrapping in quilted mover’s blankets.


A” to scale” graph paper floor plan indicating the placement of stage furniture and the props located on each item of furniture is essential. A fragmented example follows:

(color-changing rose) (fan)
(zombie) (glass)
(rice bowls)

And so forth, depending upon the number of stage furnishings and properties.


Close-up cases of any type are better used for transport of props to be on-site body loaded, replacing previously body loaded props, when additional effects are called for. Some close-up magicians work from a topit; Dr. OM prefers working from a coat of many pockets. Working directly from the transport case is least desirable. Where do you put a case when strolling tables, for example? The initial act of an evening is, of course, body loaded at home and its empty case left in the trunk of the magician’s car, where he can empty his pockets into the empty case and reload his pockets from the full supplementary “second act” case.

For most engagements, only one body load is ordinarily needed when the audiences are large and the magician may recycle his effects from place to place and persons to persons. When the audience is small or a repeat audience, additional effects are needed for variety–one cannot repeat the same effects over and over again for the same audience. Some professionals prefer to store all replacement props in a larger compartmentalized suitcase. The old magical adage that an amateur must poorly know many effects because he performs before the same audience, but a professional must know how to perform a few effects extremely well because he plays before changing audiences, does not hold everywhere. Restaurant magic, for example, plays before returning “regulars,” therefore, the restaurant performer must vary his act but don’t worry about where the philosophical truth of the matter lies, your audience will surely let you know when you are in need of new material.

A sketch of the interior of the sectioned close-up case, be it a briefcase, doctor’s bag, wooden box with drawers, or other containers, should be available to remind the magician of both the location and the performing order of the props. Therefore, the props should be in performing order, not only on the checklist but also physically in the close-up case, as well.


Magicians need lots of pockets, because the best storage of props-in-use is in the clothing, allowing the magician to move about unencumbered in any venue, but especially when performing from table to table, and to allow more seemingly magical productions and vanishments of objects, both close-up and on stage. Pulling objects out of a box does not seem magical.


Generally, traveling light is most desirable, but not always possible when larger illusions are on the program. Dr. OM’s adult floor show is body loaded; his coat is not worn to the venues but is rather carried in a garment bag. His top hat, cane, floor stand, and mid-sized props are contained in a smart black duffle bag. In addition, his floor show requires a small tape player and amplifier for musical background.


The practice may be out of act sequence with concentration upon effects most in need of practice. Rehearsing should be conducted in the actual sequencing of the act, as it is to be performed.

ROUTINING is of utmost importance both within an effect and among the collective effects constituting the act. The act isn’t everything; it’s the only thing–to paraphrase Yogi Berra.
Whenever possible, carrying over a prop from one effect to the next provides transition and continuity, for instance, a silk used in a coin routine is retained for use in a color-changing rose effect. The concept applies to utility devices, as well. For instance, a pair of scissors used to perform a cut and restored rope routine, if appearing magically from the magician’s hidden pocket, as he misdirects audience attention, occurs not as a “trick,” but as an unemphasized magical happening–that’s just the way magicians do things, if they need a pair of scissors, they simply produce them out of nowhere. After all, that is the way a magician should produce objects he needs or wants, and, after all, is not the sudden production of An object more meaningful than merely picking it up from a tabletop. All it takes is an upstage turn and steal from the pocket or profonde.

October 1999

” An Arm and Leg “
Ronald J. Dayton

The human body is an amazing machine…a biological creation of tissue and bone, cells and atoms controlled by an all but unexplainable command center, the human brain. We are our own greatest enigma. But the mysteries of creation and the very makeup of our DNA notwithstanding, magicians in their unerring wisdom have even found ways to use our own body parts to mystify and amaze.

Many of you have no doubt seen the simple physical optical illusions played on us by our own minds…that of holding a cardboard tube up to our right eye in the right hand, and holding the left hand against the left side of the tube…flat open palm of the left hand facing toward us. By looking through the tube with the left eye while still keeping the right eye open as well…the mind sees the double image as one…creating the illusion that we are looking through a hole in our left hand.

The second visual illusion I was going to mention is that of the ‘floating sausage’. If you hold your arms out in front of you, bent at the elbow so the forearms are upward…then point the first finger of each hand toward the other and slowly move the arms closer together until the fingertips touch… a ghostly specter of a small fleshy sausage or saucer will appear between the two fingertips.

These are just two simple examples, used to open the door of thought on the many impromptu bits of business and magic we can create using our bodies. Various scientific and physical laws are also employed to create stunning effects.

Many years ago, a slight and demure woman who billed herself as the Georgia Magnet…and Georgia Wondermade a very good living by using laws of leverage and deflection of force to seemingly pit her own strength against that of the most powerful men in her audience. In his marvelous book, ” Body Magic ” by John Fisher…he explains many of her secrets and principles. The ploys and methods she used are little known by younger students of magic today. I will state most emphatically that I think you would be doing yourself a great disservice by not looking into the subject more closely. With props no more complicated than a broom handle or pool stick and a wooden chair, you can easily bewilder and amaze.

You can even surprise your friends with a simple experiment in which you supposedly take control of their mind…and force them to raise their arms against their will. All they must do is to step within the framework of any doorway opening. With their hands at their side, they are to spread their arms out until the back of each hand is pressed against the door jamb at either side. The next step is to exert as much force against the jamb as possible and continue exerting pressure for one minute. At the end of that time, they are to relax the pressure…allow the arms to hang limply at their side…and step away from the doorway. You have previously explained that at the end of this experiment, their arms will rise at their side…and they will have no control of the situation. Lo and behold…the muscles of the arms will indeed relax…and their arms, to their own amazement, will begin to rise. If you doubt me…try this for yourself. It’s wonderful fun!

Mr. Fisher has included in excess of one hundred effects using parts of the body. He includes little known information which is of value to all of us. Heat sensitivity…sensitivity to touch…limitations of movement certain positions restrict us to, why our eyes tend to fool our minds when viewing optical illusions and the way the mind interprets messages it is sent. This hard to find paperback publication has a wealth of information.

A recent television special involving street magician David Blaine had a marvelous example of the type of physical magic I am speaking of…and that was the twisting wrist. It looks impossible, and even a bit repulsive…but it is body magic at its very best. To find examples of even more of this stuff, I suggest you look into Martin Gardner’s book, ” Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic. ” Pull off your thumb, stretch your fingers…twirl your bent arm…it’s all here for the taking.

So many wonderful and diversified principles are employed in this sort of impromptu magic. Properly presented, it is strong, effective, and puzzling to the mind, eye, and senses. Little things as simple as seeming to ‘crack ‘ your nose by holding it between the fingers of the hands which are positioned at each side, and giving it a twist, catch people completely off guard. An ice breaker to be sure…and one which will definitely get their attention. The secret? The thumbnail of one hand enters the mouth just far enough to catch and pull against the lower edge of your front teeth as the twisting action of the hands is executed. The illusion of having broken your nose is very real for the unsuspecting.

Fraudulent ‘ Faith Healers’ also use physical trickery to dupe people out of their money. Shills or secret assistants who work for the phony men of faith come up from out of the audience, just as if they were everyday people with a problem they want this man of God to help them with. Often it is an arm or leg which is shorter than the other. By a laying of the hands, the ailing limb seems to visibly correct itself…growing before their very eyes to match the length of the normal limb! How so you ask. Because if you shift the position of your shoulders or hips to favor one side or the other as you extend both limbs…one will appear shorter than the other. It is a very bold and obvious ploy…but, only obvious to those not taken in by the false man of the cloth…and not at their wits end to find solutions to genuine physical disabilities. This is one of the lowest and most despicable ways to bilk people out of money that I can think of. They prey on victims desperate beyond belief. I am sickened by the knowledge that it is only a trick.

But thankfully…you have higher standards and higher goals. The methods you may choose to look for will bring happiness and entertainment into people’s lives. Isn’t it nice to know that you have been supplied with the apparatus right at birth! <G> And of course…good magician that you are…you carry the props with you everywhere you go.

Investigate the magic of the mind, eye, and body. You will never regret the knowledge that you gain…and you may well be impressed with the capabilities the human body possesses.

September 1999

All I can say is, “They Just Keep Coming!” Here is yet another world-class LESSON in magic for all our illustrious I.C.O.M members….BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

The very first big-name person in magic to refer to me as an ‘idea man’, was U.F. Grant. I would write to him every time a new method came to mind. Now that I look back on it, he really was a patient man because I pestered him to death. We were never actually ‘friends’ in the usual sense.. .that is to say, we never met. The random letters were our only contact, and his replies were short and to the point, being as busy as he was, I marvel that he ever took time to answer at all. But he was my mentor.. .and I was the probable bane to his existence.

At any rate, I should get to the point where all of this is leading. During recent days, I have re-discovered some of the Grant material I have been hoarding over the years. One of the manuscripts I found was a 1944 publication by Nelmar productions out of Chicago. The title of the work was “One Hundred Tips and Gags“ by U.F. Grant. I’ve studied over some of the suggestions, and find they are as applicable today as they were fifty-four years ago. Only minor changes would be needed.

Most of the original material was taken directly from Grant’s private notebook. The majority of the ideas belonged to others, but no one seemed to know who originated most of them. He did credit W. R. Williamston of New York City for several of the items.

A Grant suggestion that caught my eye was that of the annoying person who, as a joke on you, asks you to pull a rabbit out of a hat. To squelch the situation, take a hat or cap, and apparently pull a HAIR (HARE) out of it. As a continuation on a theme…follow by using the invisible hair in the old bit of pantomiming the sewing of the fingers on one hand together. Pretend to thread the long hair through an invisible needle. This ‘needle’ is held between the thumb and first finger of the left hand. The fingers of the right hand are spread far apart. With the right hand turned, palm toward you, you pretend to stick the needle into the side of the R.H. little finger and pull it out the opposite side. You then do the same with the R.H. third finger. As you pull on the needle this time, the third and little fingers move together, side by side. This is repeated until all the fingers and thumb of the right hand seem to have been sewn together. Lastly, you pretend to poke the needle through the wrist and pull it out at the side of the wrist at the back of the hand. When you hold the arm up, bent at the elbow and pull on the string or thread, the hand waves up and down in a ‘ bye-bye, see you ‘round’ type gesture. You say “ Bye-bye”, and walk away. They are left bewildered and mildly entertained.

Have you heard the Bobby J. Gallo-Bill Wisch audiotape yet called Ultimate Magic Rap, Vol. 1 “? If you haven’t.. .do yourself a big favor, and order it today. It is loaded with information, sage advice, and several wonderful, fully explained effects you CAN do. One of the effects offered in the tape is by Bill Wisch. It involves a spectator’s wristwatch…and it is tremendous! Well, one of the effects in Grant’s manuscript reminded me of the Wisch effect.. .and I believe they could be blended together for a nice comedy touch in certain routines.

In the original, the M.C. comes out following the magic act and says that the magician wasn’t so great. He says, “ I have his watch.” as he pulls the same from his pocket. Just before he steps off into the wings, the magician turns and says…” That’s nothing…I have his socks I” and pulls a pair of socks from his pocket. The M.C. lifts his pants leg to reveal he is standing barefooted in his shoes.

A twist could be employed using the Wisch watch idea, and two spectator assistants. After they have returned to their seats, the magician calls one of them back because he has his watch. This is a bonafide spectator, who is not in on the gag. The second spectator who is a confederate ) is called up next. HE pulls the sock gag on the magician…then the magician says, “ That’s nothing…I have your belt!” As this is said, the confederate opens his jacket, and his pants fall down revealing loud boxer shorts. Old schtick…but funny.

During what seems to be a serious series of sleights with lit cigarettes, a person dressed to resemble a cleaning lady comes out on stage with a dust-pan and broom, sweeping up those that have been thrown to the floor. An electric vacuum would also be funny.

After a lady has assisted you in a trick, you bring a beautiful long-stemmed rose for her from just off stage. In reality, it has been cut in two just a few inches below the bloom. You are holding the two pieces as one. When she takes hold of the lower end of the stem, you walk away, leaving her holding only the naked stem.

Here is a spin-off of a coin on forehead effect Grant offered, but this one has more of a genuine magical feel to it. You take a nickel and place it on the forehead of a spectator who has tilted his head back to permit this. The idea is to see if he can bring his head forward in such a way that the coin will drop into a tin can or small bucket you are holding. He does as instructed, and the coin falls right in. Bullseye! You then take the coin out of the pail… vanish it, and.. .it magically flies right back to the center of the spectator’s forehead where he finds and removes it himself!

During the reading, you no doubt have figured most of this out already. When you place the coin on your forehead, you press firmly down on the skin and slide the coin upward just a bit. It will adhere to the forehead. You may or may not want to do this to a spectator that you do not know personally. An alternative would be to place a bit of non-toxic magician’s wax on the coin to achieve the same effect. The coin which falls into the can or pail is concealed under the fingers of the hand holding the receptacle. You then execute a shuttle pass or other move to pretend to place the coin in one hand, actually retaining it in the other. He tips his head back once again. You make a tossing action with your empty hand…the one which is supposed to be holding the coin. The coin VANISHES.. .and re-appears in the center of his forehead. Just a bit of nonsense, I know…but the audience will get a kick out of it, believe me.

For a twist on the vanishing birdcage, have a solid cage rigged up so the BIRD is on a pull. As the hands move forward, the bird and not the cage disappears.

Have a person write something on a slip of paper, fold it, and place their foot on it. You then state that you can tell what is on the paper. Concentrate a bit, then announce, “ Your Shoe!”

Some of these bits are pure foolishness. Use them, and have some innocent fun. Magic should be fun, shouldn’t it?! Some of the others have serious merit. They are both magical and entertaining. Use these too…and have fun…but always consider your audience… and never do anything in poor taste or which might offend them.

Co-Directors Note Hey Ron, you are correct in saying that this is entertaining stuff. After all, I use your chicken humor described elsewhere in I.C.O.M and get a tremendous reaction! …BJG

August 1999

We thought we’d have some fun in the Spotlight this month after the ground-breaking material last month…enjoy!…BJG

Ten Ways To Annoy A Magician
Ronald J. Dayton

1. Pretend to forget the name of the card you chose.

2. During a coin act, drop lots of change on to the floor.

3. In an escape act, after he is handcuffed behind his back…tell him
his fly is open.

4. When he hands you a hanky to inspect, pretend to blow your nose in

5. Keep asking him where his mask is.

6. When he calls you on stage, pretend not to hear him.

7. Before the show, leave lots of empty sugar packets near the cage he
keeps his rabbits in.

8. Hold his feather bouquet behind your head, and begin doing an
Indian Rain Dance.

9. Pretend to use his Foo Can as a spitoon.

10. Bring your own doves to the theater, and let them go during the

July 1999

This a great follow-up to the “Almost Anything Through Table” Lesson two months ago in the Beginner’s study. Here you will be privy to a very RARE magical concept that is worth the entire year of your I.C.O.M membership! One more way we stay on the cutting edge of magic! Between these two lessons and what Bill Teaches in the Slydini Legacy, it seems I.C.O.M has everything you will ever need to know concerning the subject of “LAPPING”…BJG

” Take Another Lap “
Ronald J. Dayton

One of the most diabolical and effective methods employed by close-up workers is the art of lapping. This means, in its most basic terms, secretly dropping an object you seem to pick up from your performing surface, off the back ledge of the table, and into your lap. I refer to it as an Art, because for it to be effective and deceptive, it must be executed with precision and perfect timing. Lapping is not something you casually do, without working at it. The various moves and ploys created for lapping must be practiced diligently…and once perfected, will provide you with
an arsenal of weapons.

There is a good chance that almost every novice magician entering the I.C.O.M ranks is familiar with the Salt Shaker Thru Table effect. This is where the salt saker is set on top of a coin, then covered with a paper napkin that is formed around the shape of the shaker. The magician says he is going to cause the coin to vanish…but this is just a way to keep the spectator’s attention on the tabletop. As the shaker is lifted to reveal the coin…you seem to have failed because the coin is still there. But the actual ‘magic’ is taking place then, as the hand holding the covered shaker moves back toward the edge of the table. You relax your hold on the napkin, and the shaker drops into your lap. Since it appears the shaker is still there thanks to the form the napkin has held,
the ‘ shaker’ is supposedly replaced over the coin. The climax comes when you smash the napkin flat…then produce the solid shaker from beneath the table. This is a classic example of lapping.

If you think about all the ways there are to pick an object up from a table, you will be given some clues to possible methods for lapping. In many instances, the objects are positioned near the rear edge of the table, to begin with. In one instance, say with a coin, the flat hand, with the thumb behind the fingers might appear to scoop the coin up, fingers covering and pulling the coin back toward the rear edge. In another, you might cover the coin, then appear to pick it up in a loose fist. In this instance, as the hand closes into a fist, the tips of the fingers come into contact with the front edge of the coin and literally push the coin off the back edge. Coins may well be covered by the hand…but in reality, you slightly overshoot your mark…and the coin is actually under the wrist…then worked a bit further back to being under the forearm. The coin is then dragged back and off the table as the hand is pulled back to a position a few inches from the edge. Flicking or brushing actions of the hand may also propel a coin or small object off the working surface and into your lap.

There are also many methods in which an object actually held within the hand may be released and dropped in totally undetectable ways. Once an object is in your lap, it may be easily switched for another object, or, re-introduced into the routine at a later time. The lap itself may well be much more than simply a drop off point. The legs may be used to hold items between them, such as classes of liquid, for production later. Folds made in the trousers may be used as impromptu holders or pockets for coins, cards, and other flat objects. The bend of the knee might also be considered as a holding spot for things such as a wand or a deck of cards. The lifted leg and bent knee could be employed to hold an object up against the underside of the table. You can conceal items under the leg as well…pinning it between the leg and the seat of the chair.

Depending upon your situation, the draping of the table ( table cloth ) might be effective as an aid to your lapping ability. By lifting the cloth up on top of your lap, and spreading your legs a bit to form a natural well…you have provided a landing surface that will help to keep items dropped to remain right there on your lap. The folds of the cloth would also act as a trough or ‘ramp’ down which items such as coins might slide. This would funnel the falling object directly to another coin or coins already there, providing you with a well-timed audible clink to coincide with actions happening above the table surface. The same holds true of an empty glass held between your legs, and a coin resting on the thigh of your leg. Pretending to drop a coin into a visible glass on top of the table, timed with the secret dropping of a coin into the glass beneath the table could prove to be very effective.

Although much of what I have mentioned also leans toward the subject of Servantes… I felt it was fair to sort of meld the thoughts together because they are so closely related. There are a connection and interaction which is hard to deny. For that reason, I would like to explain a device
I created about fourteen years ago which I called The Saddle Servante. It is a secret utility item which is worn on the body and allows the close-up worker to ditch and steal various objects, and still have the freedom to stand up at any point in his routine. Something which is not possible for the performer who is lapping exclusively. The Saddle Servante allows you to combine the powers of lapping and a servante as well. This new design in servantes permits the thinking performer to create a device that is geared to his or her own specific needs.

Q: Where is the Saddle Servante worn:
A: It is worn on the top of the thigh, just a few inches above the knee.

Q: What keeps this servante in place ? How is it held on the leg ?
A: The very nucleus of the Saddle Servante is a girl’s or lady’s headband. Those are the flat, U-shaped strips of plastic worn to hold the hair in place. The spring tension of the band is what keeps it clamped to the leg.

Q: What sort of devices or pockets may be attached to this leg
A: This is where the diversity of the device comes into play. You may attach any sort of holder you wish to use on this band. They may be attached permanently by gluing them in place, or, you may want to glue a strip of velcro to the band, and then position matching velcro tabs to the containers or pockets you want to employ with the band. These might be droppers. magnets, cloth or plastic pouches ( pockets ), open-end tubes, loops of elastic for wands, or thumb tips. The combinations you choose are limited only by your own imagination. To allow you to stand at will, attention will have to be given to the positioning of certain holders, or, some may possibly have to be attached in such a way as to allow them to move or pivot.

The saddle Servante may also be combined with the table cloth ploy, towel, or table napkin in the lap mentioned earlier. In fact, the Saddle will hold the material in place more securely.

Q: What will the cost be ?
A: The cost, in its most basic form, should be rather minimal. It is difficult to give a specific range since I do not know which, or how many elements you want to incorporate with the Saddle Servante. I would venture to say the cost should range somewhere between five and ten dollars. This would include the band, velcro, basic elastics and cloth materials, glue/ sewing materials. If you choose to use special holders or droppers
and purchase them rather than making your own, the cost of course will grow. But I sincerely feel that even an expenditure of as much as fifteen dollars would be well worth it.

Q: How should the servante be finished ?
A: The Saddle Servante is never meant to be seen by the audience. But If you desire to give it a more finished look…the band and velcro should be black. This to me is best. It will blend with the usual dress slacks we wear…and the color has been associated with gimmicks and devices for decades. Since this is the case, it follows that the cloth and coverings or painted finishes on the other holders and droppers would also be black. But specialized Saddle Servante’s could also be designed to suit specific needs in dress or costuming.

Q: Who can use the Saddle Servante ?
A: Basically, anyone. It is an extremely good device for female performers.
They always have the option of wearing either a dress or slacks. When used with a dress, we have the same combination as with the table cloth and Saddle Servante. The Saddle Servante may also be worn under the dress…providing the perfect walk-on for the female close-up performer. Anyone with legs above the knee may employ this device.

When you consider all the options opened up by the use of the art of lapping, and infusing it with various other ploys, aids, and servantes…we are now talking about almost limitless means for presenting our close-up magic.

This is the first time in fourteen years that the Saddle Servante concept has been shared with the magic community. That makes this material an I.C.O.M exclusive…and I am proud to offer the premise for your consideration. I am very proud of this device, and the applications it provides. I am, in particular, pleased with the fact that it offers a utility device that may be effectively employed by either gender. The ladies have been left out of the action for far too long.

Manufacturing Rights Reserved By Ronald J. Dayton Copyright 1999 International Conservatory of Magic.


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 1997,1998,1999 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 7/99-12/99


December 1999

I LOVE THIS! Not only is this a great trick, but it is especially beneficial to our students overseas who have little access to magical props. All you have to do is print these cards out, stick them to computer discs and you are ready to go! Thanks Mike for an OUTSTANDING trick!…BJG

Fastest Brain on Earth
Mike Fordice

You hand out 4 computer disks and explain that you can calculate faster than a computer. Ask your “computer operator” to think of a number from 1 to 15. If that number appears on the disk they are to put it into the “disk drive” (your handheld palm up to accept disks). They must insert the disks right side up (so you can read the numbers). After all, disks go into the computer only one way. Immediately after they finish inserting the last disk, you tell them the number they were thinking of!

Simply add the red numbers in the upper left corner of each disk they give you. That’s the thought-of number. FAST—FAST—FAST! Enjoy!

© 1999 Michael W. Fordice, PhD
Manufacturing rights reserved.

Editors Note: Unfortunately due to the passage of time and changing technology, the picture files needed to perform this effect got corrupted and lost. Since Mike as since passed, we are no longer able to replace them.

November 1999

” Kickin the Can “
( Expanded version )
Ronald J. Dayton

One definite advantage of having lived as long as I have is that you get to see a lot of things come and go. Modern technology offers us opportunities which are literally mind-boggling… and the future holds the promise of very nearly anything we dare to dream.

My childhood was that of modest, middle income means. We never had a lot of things… but the things we had were valued. Then too, we didn’t live in poverty…so that and our health was a lot to be thankful for. The kids on the block were rich in another sense. They had that rare gift…the ability to be inventive…to devise ways to entertain themselves when games purchased in the stores were not to be had. Warm summer evenings were spent playing hide and seek and kick the can.

Why am I relating all of this to you? I have done so as a ’roundabout way to eventually get to them of this month’s topic. Whenever I brainstorm an effect or prop…I usually say I am ‘kicking’ around a few ideas. This month, I have chosen to take a look at something called The Pea Can. So in a way, you might say that I am going to mentally ‘ kick the can ‘. <G> The basic effect of the Pea Can is more than a little risque. At best, it is a little cute, and a little naughty too. It was very popular in the 1950s. We had just won the respect of the free world by defeating our enemies in World War II, and civilians and service personnel as well looked forward to building new lives in the prosperity we now had. It was an era when novelties and practical jokes were all the rage. The Pea Can be very much at home in this environment.

The Pea Can is a novelty more than a trick. There is a transformation involved…but the real thrust of the prop is more of a prank than a mystery. It is, to say the least, a strange combination of emotions. What is most amazing to me is the fact that although the apparatus cost very little, the quality of the components was first class.

The short version of the explanation is this. A small, tubular-shaped can is displayed. It was if memory serves…about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and about two inches tall. The can be closed at one end, and open at the other.

A person was asked to hold out their outstretched hand. The can, being marked with a small label…similar to that of a can of peas in a grocery store, was inverted, and a tiny green rubber pea poured into the waiting palm. The pea was then casually dropped back into the can. You then state that by magic, you will cause the pea to change. A bit of a gesture over the can…and when its contents were again dumped out…the spectator was shocked to find a small puddle of liquid had been poured into their hand. After a moment…it registered what the ‘pea’ had been changed to…bringing laughs all around from those who were watching.

As I mentioned in a previous paragraph…the component parts of the Pea Can be exceptionally well made. The prop, in reality, consisted of two metal tube-like cans. The outer one which was always visible, and an inner one which was about one third the length of the larger tube. The mouth of the larger tube was straight, the opening of the hidden tube had been turned down just a bit. When the inner tube was within the outer…the the top edge was seamless and didn’t betray a thing.

The secret to the effect of course was to have placed a measured amount of liquid into the larger tube prior to presenting it. The inner tube was then pushed into place, forming a snug seal. The rubber pea was then dropped into the top opening, and you were all set to perform.

During the display of the Pea Can after the rubber pea had been replaced…the fingertip of the right-hand second finger entered the can briefly, and stole the smaller tube away…wearing it like a false fingertip. Under misdirection of the liquid reveal…it was an easy matter to ditch the smaller tube. The Pea Can be then able to be examined without fear of discovering the trickery involved.

Students of I.C.O.M will no doubt be able to devise different handlings for the Pea Can. Perhaps you would like to present it as a Portable Orchard type effect. A seed rather than a rubber pea is dumped from the can. An orange seed or even several apple seeds might be used. The seed(s) are returned to the can, and then by magic…changed into the juice of the fruit the seeds had come from. The liquid of course is poured into a shot glass held by the spectator…not into their hand.

A length of string which had been snipped into multiple short pieces could be tucked into the can, and transformed into a restored length. Silver glitter poured into the can might well be transformed into a stack of miniature coins. All one needs do is to begin thinking in terms of objects which will fit into the chambers of the can to enable themselves to better create new uses for the Pea Can.
A thought which came to mind this week is to actually drop a green rubber pea into the can. The surprise comes when a Pecan nut is dumped out of the container instead of the liquid they might suspect. Pea Can, Pecan…alright, it’s an obvious play on words… <G> I couldn’t resist.

As I began considering the Pea Can as a subject…I also began to wonder what other props in magic use a variation of this basic nesting container method. Some of the things I am about to list may surprise you. In some instances…I may be completely off base. I leave it to you to make that call / find connections of your own.

I think an important factor to include in your examination of relationships of apparatus is the secret container itself. Is it something which is initially inside the outer container? Is it fully removed, or only partially? Is it in a remote position from the visible container…then secretly introduced inside as a loaded chamber? Is the hidden tube disguised as something else…and in full view at the onset? In other words, is it used as a fake and is then used as an inner tube!?

One piece of apparatus which I believe is closely related to the Pea Can is the Flag Tube. This prop is precision machined. It has an outer tube which is closed at one end…a hidden inner tube…and a secret on the cap. The cap is eventually used to steal away the inner tube, allowing a number of silks to be transformed into a flag.

As an example of a piece of equipment that falls into the remote container category…we might well consider the gimmick for the Drum Head Tube. This too is a precision fit. it is a smaller inner tube-like container of sorts that is secretly introduced into the outer tube as a production source. The outer tube is open at both ends..but during the routine, sheets of tissue are affixed with metal bands, transforming it into a tube closed at both ends! Two other pieces of apparatus in which a remote container is introduced are the Dove Pan, and the Coffee Vase.

Examples of tube-like containers in which the secret inner tube is partially removed are the Bill Tube, and the Devil’s Coin Box. One allows an object to be secretly added to the outer container…the The other allows an object to be removed.

I mentioned too that there are pieces of equipment in which the inner tube is at first displayed openly as a fake…remote from the outer tube. I would name the Chinese Fire Cracker effect, Candle to Salt, Nickles to Dimes Tube, and possibly even the Stack of Quarters as candidates that apply.

It is interesting, I think, to look at the similarities and the differences in the examples given. Some may be a bit of a stretch…but not a long one. There are definite connections, and I think the inventors devised their creations based on association. They took a known principle and did a spin on it. I believe that if you do the same…you will be able to create new effects of your very own. After all…if magic stopped dead in its tracks with the ‘first’ of anything…and no one sought to improve upon it…the scope of our art would be very limited indeed.

Co-Directors Notes: You did it again Ron, Awesome!…BJG

October 1999

Keep Your Eyes Open When
A Magical Effect
Mike Fordice

The magician announces that he is about to do a card trick that is so spectacular that it requires it’s own stage. He then produces a polished maple board (5.5 x 3.5 inches) and places it on the close-up mat. He then places the deck of cards on the stage (see photo #1). The deck is shuffled, a random card is selected, and returned to the deck. The magician shows that the selected card is not on the top or bottom of the deck. The deck is returned to the stage. He then announces that simply by slapping the deck, he will cause the selected card to appear on the face of the deck having already shown that the selected is not there. With the deck on the stage, the performer slaps the deck hard and dramatically. Picking up the deck shows that the selected card is NOT on the face as promised. The performer hands the deck to the spectator who selected the card and asks him/her to find the card. The card is missing; in fact, there are only 51 cards remaining. The performed, who has not been a happy camper for the past few seconds, turns the board over and shows that the selected card appears painted onto the board!

The title of this effect has little to do with the effect. The real lesson is that magic is all around you. I found the boards (small cutting boards) at a flea market years ago. There were 2 of them in perfect condition. They had the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds painted on one side. This effect is reminiscent of Schulein’s card through the tablecloth and was certainly inspired by that. (For the record, I’ve seen Charlie Schulein [recently passed] perform that effect at their restaurant in Chicago.) Great effect, laymen go wild.

Now I realize that you’re not all going to have these cool boards that I have. So what. Keep your eyes open! Create your own. Use something else. A book, a tablet, a slate, etc.

Here’s the basic routine from the card handler¹s point of view.

1. Force the Ace of Clubs (or Diamonds).

2. When the card is returned to the deck, control to top, palm off, and lap. This leaves 51 cards in the deck.

3. Show top and bottom few cards of the deck. Return deck to stage.

4. Slap the deck. Or you can have the spectator slap the deck. Or do some psychic thing.

5. Announce that the card is now on the face of the deck. Show! Not there! Act disappointed. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask him/her to find the selected card. Not there. Only 51 cards.

6. Turn over the board and show that the card not only went through the deck, but also painted itself onto the board.



photo #2

Ok, Ok, Just “one more” object through table effect! But what an addition it is! A version of shaker through table unlike any other! You’ll love this…BJG

September 1999

Shaker Through Table With A Spicy Twist.
Ronald J. Dayton

Audiences and magicians alike enjoy effects which are variations on classics or themes they have already seen. The ‘twist’ is what creates the interest.., and if it is seen that the plot is beginning to shift from the norm, their interest is held even more intensely.

This variation will take a bit of work.. .but the performer willing to put some time and effort, and even additional thought into its development, will have a wonderful effect.

You will need the following materials: One clear glass salt shaker filled with salt, and an identical shaker filled with pepper; several sturdy paper napkins, a felt tip marking pen, some magician’s wax, some additional salt…and one of those small bean bag ashtrays which are weighted to sit on the arm of a chair without falling off.

EFFECT: Performer displays a salt shaker full of salt, a small stack of paper napkins, and a marking pen upon his table. He asks for the loan of a quarter. The person offering the same is asked to mark the coin with the marker on either side as he sees fit. The pen is returned to your inside jacket pocket, and the magic may begin.

The coin is turned marked side down upon your table. It is then covered by setting the salt shaker on top of it. The shaker is then in turn covered by forming one of the paper napkins over and around it as in the standard shaker through table handling seen in recent I.C.O.M lessons particularly “Almost Anything Through Table” by Bobby J. Gallo.

You talk for a while about the possibilities of causing a solid object to vanish without a trace.. .as if by magic! You tell your audience that, without touching it, you will attempt to cause the coin which was just marked and placed on the center of the table to vanish completely. Make a gesture toward the covered shaker, and lift it from where the coin was. To ‘their surprise, the coin is still there! Absolutely NOTHING has happened!

Once again, you set the covered shaker over the coin, and again, you make the mystical gesture. The covered shaker is lifted. The coin is gone. Your left-hand reaches under the table, and when it comes back to the top of the table, it is seen to be clutching a fist full of salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker.. .and it is now seen to be filled with pepper! The pepper shaker is set to one side, and the salt in the left hand is transferred to the right. As you very slowly and deliberately sift through the salt…you eventually discover a coin within the grains. It is cleaned off a bit, and then shown to be the marked and borrowed coin!

METHOD: This entire set-up is not that far removed from the standard in which the coin is used as a ploy to secretly hold their attention as the hand with the covered shaker moves to the rear edge of the table and laps same. The differences here are the penetration and switch of salt for pepper, and the actual vanish of the coin and eventual discovery within the penetrated fist-full of salt.

To prepare, all properties mentioned as being on the table earlier are in place. In addition, the weighted bean-bag ash try has been filled with a quantity of salt and is resting on your right leg, near the knee. The pepper shaker is in your lap. A bit of magicians wax has been applied to the bottom of this shaker.

The coin is borrowed and marked, covered with the salt shaker, and the salt shaker in turn covered with the paper napkin…forming the same to assume and hold the shape of the shaker. On the first lift of the salt shaker, it is carried back toward the rear edge of the table, and lapped. The left hand has previously gotten hold of the pepper shaker and loads this back up under the napkin, similar to the way in which a load is introduced up into the cups during a cups and balls routine.

This newly covered pepper shaker with the waxed bottom is now set down on top of the borrowed coin. Of course, with the second lift of the covered shaker, the coin appears to have vanished. In a knowing manner, you reach under the table with your left hand, grasping the ash-tray, and dumping a quantity of salt into your left hand. The ashtray is held by the first finger and thumb of the hand during this action, allowing the remaining fingers to close around as large a quantity of salt as possible. On the return, the ash-tray is also lapped.

The left hand comes to the top of the table and opens a bit to reveal the salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker and reveals the pepper. As the shaker is picked up near the bottom to more fully display the contents, the second finger curls in under the bottom and steals the coin away into the right hand. The shaker is set aside, and the salt from the left hand is poured or dumped into the right. All that remains is the final reveal of the actually marked coin. Under the pretense of cleaning some of the salt from the coin, the excess wax is also removed.

This is a powerful and unexpected series of events. The public domain shaker through the table has been elevated to something they had not yet seen before. With the right timing and proper misdirection… this may well be the effect they talk about most after your close-up performance.

Isn’t that a goal worth working towards!?

August 1999

This is a real lesson in magic using one of my all time favorite subjects in magic…thimble work…BJG

” Son Of Thimble “
Ronald J. Dayton

Lesson # 47, pp. 73 of Vol. 4 of the ” Tarbell Course In Magic “…compiled and bound in hardcover by Louis Tannen, deals with a specialized branch of magic once known as Thumb-mography… thimble work. For the longest time, I wondered why they ever created such a term. Years later…it dawned on me that the probable reason was that the thumb palm played such an important role in thimble manipulation. That explanation may or may not be accurate…but it makes a lot of sense to me. If anyone knows the answer for sure, please feel free to write.

Thimble work had a definite hey-day…a time when it’s popularity peaked. Now, for years, you seldom see anyone performing it. What a golden opportunity to the newcomer to magic to begin a renaissance of the art!

I have noted, with more than casual interest, that ads for new age thimbles have begun to appear. Taking advantage of microelectronics…these new thimbles light up…quite literally. I do not own a set, but I can well imagine the high degree of visibility and interest they would generate in a properly lit setting.

The Tarbell Course hits many of the highlights of thimble work…and explains all the basics. Some very creative thinking was involved in the development of many of the effects outlined in the text. I think it is a marvelous place to start for any person seriously considering thimble work. Even legendary manipulators of the past, such as Cardini, used thimbles in their routines. The ones Mr. Pitchford used were encrusted with rhinestones to add both glitz and visibility. But be they metal, wood or plastic…thimbles are a viable part of the realm of

Thimbles can of course be modified and gimmicked as most any other prop can be. They can be very specialized…or common, off the store shelf variety. Aside from thimbles that were created for a specific effect or handling capability…the vast majority of the ‘magic’ of the art relies on subtle sleights and misdirection. For the most part, you could say, thimble work is the sort of thing the purists and finger-flingers love.

In the past, thimble fakes have been made from silver foil paper to facilitate barehanded vanishes, drilled and threaded for visible jumping and stacking at fingertips, gimmicked with hooks and elastic line for vanishes…provided with special holders and droppers. Jumbo thimbles were created for the finale’ to certain routines. Special moves and steals were created to facilitate the work. Thimbles not only appeared and disappeared at will…they also grew, changed color, and even penetrated through a borrowed handkerchief. One very creative use for thimbles which I am certain will appeal to several of you, was too routine the manipulations into a complete Miser’s Dream effect. This is explained in the Tarbell book as well.

Here is what is believed to be an original sleight employing a thimble. The thimble is on the tip of the left-hand first finger. The finger is poked into the right-hand fist at the thumb side. The left first finger enters the fist… The left thumb goes under the right thumb…and is hidden from view below the right hand. The extended left second, third and fourth fingers rest above the curled right-hand fingers.

At the moment the left first finger is pulled from within the loose right-hand fist, the left-hand fingers pivot upward, and point toward the ceiling for just an instant…as if showing the hand is empty. In that brief moment, the left thumb enters the thimble from below through the opening provided by the loosely formed right fist. The left fingers now pivot back down toward the back of the right hand and make a gentle rubbing motion. This is when the left thumb bends in toward the left palm…concealing the presence of the thimble it has stolen.

The left-hand pull away just a bit as the right-hand fist turns palm side up…then slowly opens\ to reveal the thimble has vanished. The left hand then approaches…thumb going below the back of the open right hand, extended fingers brushing and caressing across the center of the right palm, and slowly moving toward the right fingertips. When the left first finger reaches the fleshy base of the right fingers during this stroking motion…the right-hand turns palm down…the right thumb grips the thimble on the left thumb and pulls is free as the left-hand moves back toward the left and away from the right hand. Left-hand turns palm up as it leaves the right…showing without actually stating it, that it too is empty. Thimble in the right hand is manipulated and turned so the right first finger may bend and enter the thimble opening. Looking upward and to your left…the right-hand swings upward and catches the elusive thimble at the fingertip.

There have been many, many thimble sleights developed over the years. Based on that fact, I cannot say with certainty that the sleight outlined above is absolutely original. If it isn’t, at least is makes for a reference point in understanding some of the ploys used in thimble manipulation. It might also make an interesting steal for a false fingertip in certain instances. Something to think about.

Also, take some time to consider thimble-like objects you might use when an actual thimble is not available to you. Performers must often ‘think on their feet’…replacing one thing for another when requested to ‘ do a trick for us ‘, at very short notice.

Thimble like caps could easily be covered with bandages, creating the illusion of an injury moving from digit to digit. Caps from certain felt tip pens could be used in place of a thimble. Toy stores sell items called ‘ finger puppets ‘…these too would make interesting replacements for the standard thimble. The characters of the puppets could interact, and help you weave a tale quite different from the norm.

If this sort of manipulation appeals to you…then please do not hesitate to actively seek sources of information from dealers, collectors, and older members of the magic community. There really is a wealth of information out there if you have the desire to look for it. Thimble work is so old…it will seem new to generations of today. With a little effort…you could be on the ground floor of something really refreshing.

This may seem like a shameless product plug, but in our online magic catalog, we sell some excellent manipulation thimbles under the title, FOUR THIMBLES, they work well and are very inexpensive…….BJG

July 1999

Hey! Whats with the new banner??? Trust me, its all good news. With the growth of I.C.O.M, we have had a number of people send in fantastic submissions. Well, after the membership rate decrease a few months back, we made it it a policy to have only “One” item per month, per forum. Well, we have now decided to make certain months, DOUBLE FEATURE months is various forums. Consider it a BONUS from us to you…BJG

Gimmicked Card Month!

” Improved Diagonal Move “
Ron Dayton

This photo helps to show the construction of the gimmicked card.

Over ten years ago, I created an effect called Diagonal Move. It was an effect in which you displayed a playing card front and back, then used your first and second fingers to magically punch a genuine hole in one corner. Using the first finger of the hand at the hole end, the hole was magically pushed or moved to the opposite diagonal corner of the card.

What I am about to describe to you is an improved version of the original. If you are serious, and you can read ( which you obviously can )…by following the instructions I am about to give, you can provide yourself with a ten dollar trick, for pennies.

One picture or court card, king, queen, or jack. One indifferent card with matching back design optional. An X-acto or craft knife, glue stick, hole punch, and some patience.

On a cutting surface, place the court card face up. Note that the card is framed by a thin black or blue line around the image of the figure ( King, queen, or jack ). With the short end nearest you, take the x-acto knife and make the following cuts along the black framing line.

Begin at the upper left-hand short end corner of the card, right near the index for the card value, and make a cut straight along with the frame to the opposite corner, then down the frame for half the length of the card. Make sure the cut is clean and all the way through the card., then turn the card end for end, still face up, and repeat the same cut at the new end and side.

Take the glue stick and apply glue to the back of the card, around or near the outer edge, about a quarter of an inch wide, and not extending into the image or framework of the card. Now place the indifferent card face to back with the cut card, align and press together so the two cards appear as one.

Now take the hole punch ( after cards are firmly glued together ) and insert the thinner or bottom jaw under one of the corner flaps created in the court card. That is, the punch goes in between the court flap and the solid indifferent card back. Push it in about half an inch, then punch a hole in the solid back card, save the punch out button. Do the same to the opposite diagonal corner flap. Lastly, take each of the buttons to punch outs, apply some glue to the front sides, position, and press the buttons into the punch out holes you have created.

Properly done, the card will look ungimmicked and normal at a glance once all is dry, from front or back.

With flaps pressed shut, the card may be casually shown front and back. Now, hold the back up card at the left diagonal corner, the short end nearest audience…thumb covering button at this end. Right diagonal corner nearest you is now clipped between right hand first and second fingers. With a slight levering upward, the flap at this end is opened wide enough to slip the right-hand second finger between the two segments of the card. Right-hand first finger then swings to the right and allows the flesh of the second finger to be seen through the hole.

Right-hand thumb now covers the visible hole as right-hand second finger extracts itself and allows the flap to close again. Thumb then seems to slide the hold across the back of the card to the opposite diagonal corner, left hand releasing its hold as the right-hand thumb approaches, right-hand fingers beneath the card. The left hand now moves to the end nearest you and thumb cover button opening at that end.

The left hand now swings its end of the card to the left, full around so the hand positions are now as they were at the start. Left hand holding the card at frond left corner, right hand holding it at rear right corner. Right thumb covers button at its end, then right-hand second finger secretly slips into the right rear flap, creating a hole. Right thumb lifts and moves to the right to reveal the same.

Right thumb again covers the hole, right second finger extracts itself from the flap, and card may now be shown solid, front, and back once again.

I hand made hundreds of these in the late ’70s, early ’80s and sold them via Louis Tannens Inc. Since this is now being sold via another dealer, and not under my auspices, I sincerely hope you will make your own, and put it through its paces.

Special thanks to Brad Wiley for this excellent submission, It’s a real winner!
(Good Luck with the magic club!)

c. by Colin Wayne and Brad

A blue-backed deck is fanned and is shown front and back. A card is freely selected by the spectator and is placed face up between two face-down cards. The selected card then magically and visibly “melts” through one of the cards and ends up on the bottom of the two red-backed cards. The spectator’s card is then turned over to reveal that it’s back has changed colors, it is now a red-backed card!

You will notice that the deck comprises of 26 blue-backed cards and 26 red-backed cards. The FACES of the blue-backed cards are roughed and the BACKS of the red-backed cards are roughed. With the roughed sides paired together, fanning or overhand shuffling will NOT reveal the secret of this set-up. Also needed for this effect are two red-backed cards, one of which has a slit 4/5 of the way through it from it’s long edge.

Show the two red backed cards freely, front and back, hiding the slit with your thumb and first finger. Now place these two cards on the table to one side, allowing the ungaffed card to cover the
back of the card with the slit, (face down)

Take out the blue-backed deck of cards from their box. Give them an overhand shuffle or two. Fan them, showing both sides. With the deck, FACE UP ask the spectator to TOUCH any one of the 52 cards, and if she is happy with it, cut the deck so that the chosen card is now FACE UP on top of the deck Remove the TOP CARD ONLY (it is actually a red backer) and place it on the table FACE UP-do not show the back at this time. Now return the rest of the pack to the box, saying the rest of the cards are no longer needed. (optional) Pick up the FACE-UP card and place it between the two FACE DOWN cards on the table, making sure to get it into position ‘between’ the slit. Draw attention to the fact that the card is now sandwiched between the two FACE DOWN red-backed cards.

With the thumb on the top card, rotate it quickly so that it is now positioned horizontally and covering the ends of the other two cards. Push the horizontal card up, or away from you slowly. As you do this, the spectator will see the middle card “melt” through to the bottom.

Say that because the heat generated by the rubbing of the cards has caused it tp actually melt through, but the heat has also caused something else ‘strange’ to happen… The ink on the blue-backed card has changed and taken on the color of the two red-backed cards. At this point, turn the specs card over to reveal the back has magically changed from blue to red!

Copyright by Colin Wayne and Brad Wiley 1999


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 1997,1998,1999 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 7/99-12/99


December 1999

“Slippery When Wet” Aces
Bobby J. Gallo

The performer asks if there are any “Poker Players” in the audience. Whatever the answer, four spectators are selected and asked to stand with the performer in a circle. The magician then takes a deck of playing cards and shows them all to be mixed and ordinary. He then asks each spectator to select a card by saying stop while the magician riffles through the cards with his thumb. He also instructs them that as each card is selected, they are not to look at it but rather to extend their arm keeping the card face down so the identity remains hidden until all of the cards have been selected.

After all four cards have been selected, the magician says, “on the count of three, turn all of your cards face-up!” One, Two, Three! When the cards are finally turned face-up it is seen that the spectators have all selected the four aces!

Simplicity itself! To start, all four aces are on the top of the deck in no particular order. I just fan out the cards keeping the top stock hidden while showing the spectators that all are mixed. You can even stack the deck with them looking on stating that you are actually stacking the deck the way gamblers do and after you are done you will proceed to give them a gambling demonstration! This works great and actually enhances the trick!

You then proceed to slip-force (hence the title of this trick) the four top aces. That is all there is to it! To see an explanation of the slip-force, please see Bobby J. Gallo’s The World’s Quickest Card Trick” in the I.C.O.M Archives. I have also included a stop-action photo from the sleight-of-hand gallery below for further illustration.

Try this, you will be amazed at the reaction!

November 1999

Portrait of a Stand-Up Card Routine
Bobby J. Gallo

Over the past three years, I have given you some of the very routines that I have developed and currently use. I have also talked about routining and my theories concerning certain types of magic.

That being said I would like to present to you my current stand-up card routine that I use in all college and adult venues. Not to say that children would not understand it, but I think it is better suited to those who do not need that visual gag every thirty seconds the way kids do.

The beauty of this routine is the fact that almost all of the components have either already been explained in I.C.O.M. and are therefore available n the archives, or are common knowledge. What is unique is the routining and the way that each effect flows into the next. I hope you give it a try.

Materials needed:

  • A deck of playing cards.
  • The popular prop, “The Magician’s Insurance Policy.” Cost about $3.00. Place this in your upper jacket pocket prior to starting the routine.

Routine as the audience sees it:

The magician asks for the assistance of two audience members. Remember Commando Magic? having two people up on stage makes something as small as a card trick into a large presentation.

One spectator stands to the performers right the other to the left. A deck of cards is introduced and the spectators are asked if they would like to see the “World’s Quickest Card Trick?” (See I.C.O.M Archives) After they say yes, execute the routine as per the instructions in the archives. And to answer the question for those who already know the routine, YES, it works GREAT on stage!

After that is finished ask the audience if they would like to see it again! Naturally, they will say yes because they want to catch what you are doing the second time around. But this time you need to do two things.

  • Force the card that matches the inside of the insurance policy that you have in your pocket.
  • Have any other card selected by riffling the cards in the same way you did while forcing the other two cards to maintain routine consistency.
  • Have both cards replaced making sure that you place a key card onto the FREELY SELECTED card.

So at this point, you look at one spectator who has the Insurance Policy Force card and states that you can name the selected card even faster than before!

Now intentionally miscall the card. When the spectator says you are wrong, say “well I’ll get the second card right, so two out of three ain’t bad!” Now look through the deck and set it up for the “Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick” (See I.C.O.M Archives). After this card appears to be wrong give the spectators a long look of disdain. This will get a big laugh.

Then proceed to take out the insurance policy, ask the spectator to name their card, open the policy to display the superjumbo version of their card, and get your first round of applause.

Now ask the second spectator to name their card. When they do, execute the spelling move, dropping the cards on the floor in a rapid showy manner as you spell out the selected card. When you come to the selection, pause and slowly turn it over, you will get the biggest gasp and the loudest round of applause imaginable and you will have performed a truly entertaining routine of magic. Since the cards litter the stage, I have actually used this routine as a closer to avoid the possibility of another spectator (or myself) slipping on the cards during later routines. But I feel that without the dropping of the cards to the floor, the routine will really lack a bit of drama.

Just make sure to clean up the cards after the show<G>.

October 1999

I think this is an excellent introduction to “thinking creatively” in magic. It is here in the beginner’s study to familiarize the novice with new and different approaches to magic and how he or she can develop that skill. However, this is something that EVERYONE should read because it is so clever….Ron, do you ever stop being to brilliant?….BJG

” Magic Off The Rack “
Ronald J. Dayton

Just as so often in the past, I would like to approach you with a series of ideas. You may or may not want to consider them. That decision is your own. But for my part, I would feel a bit remiss if I did not at least bring them to your attention.

For quite some time, I have been deliberating over the notion of presenting an entire program based on ‘ wearable’ magic…things we either wear directly as clothing and adornments…or objects normally carried with you as part and parcel of being fully dressed. Hence the title, Magic Off The Rack.

Let’s begin our assessment of the situation by beginning with actual articles of clothing. A person could perform a version of the cut and restored necktie…shirt pulling and vest turning. A clever booklet available from many dealers has titled ” Your Buttons Are Loose.” It is a complete comedy routine in which a loose button is noticed on your jacket. When a different, secure button is pulled, the loose button is drawn into place. Through a series of clever thread hook-ups, several buttons in succession are handled in like manner as the situation for the performer gets funnier and funnier.

In a related effect…buttons may be ripped from a spectator’s jacket to be quickly restored to their original condition with just a bit of magic. Bill Wisch has a brilliant routine in which he tears the belt loop right off the pants of an unsuspecting spectator, then restores it by the powers of his skillful magic.

Shoes have been used as containers for brilliantly thought out dove productions…not to mention the production of a large chunk of rock by another well-known comedy performer. Marketed effects have included routines in which the very socks you are wearing change color. Then too, we have had an era, less politically correct than present times, in which underwear tricks were popular… Each respective article of clothing appearing ala the Sympathetic Silks effect, tied between two silks.

Tina Lenert has achieved a reputation making a career performing a magical mime act involving strong influences of clothing and jewelry. Young newcomers to magic perform amazing magical costume changes in the seeming blink of an eye. Very visual. Very powerful and memorable magic.

Of course, during the era of white gloves, top hats and tails…each of these articles of dress was used to the benefit of dove workers and masters of sleight of hand all through Europe and across the pond. Their scarves and ascots still provide cover and misdirection to this day for some of the most incredible magic we will ever see. Livestock, candles, flowers, and brimming glasses of wine appear as if from a mist…then vanish just as mysteriously. White gloves changed color…vanished or even became living doves when tossed out toward the audience. And lest we forget…the natural backdrop of white, the very gloves he wore, added elegance beyond measure to the skillful work of Cardini.

The inner linings of pants pockets…pleats formed in trouser legs…the cuffs of pants and the rolled recesses of shirt sleeves have all had their place in magic, not to mention the vast assembly of droppers and holders concealed by the drape of the clothing itself. Lapels of jackets and the turn of a shirt collar all concealed this object or that. Special slits in clothing allowed the skilled manipulator to make steals undetectable to the human eye.

For decades beyond counting, oriental and Hindu performers relied on gowns and robes to act as cover for their magical deeds. Japanese performers and early street conjurors of Europe relied on apron like servantes into which to ditch small items, or from which to steal them as well.

Bowler Hats were penetrated by fingers and cigars as well as large die glasses of liquid. Fedoras of the ’40s were used for card and coin tricks too. The wide bands on the outside as well as the sweatband within were all secret places of concealment. Cakes were baked in them by magic too. Not bad for a borrowed prop!

The canes carried by formally dressed performers take on a life of their own. They appear, vanish, change color, become burning torches or brilliant silks….or dance with a spirit all their own as he releases his hold and gives them free rein.

Not only the clothes but the accessories that go with them are important factors in magic. Handkerchiefs and effects using them fill volumes of printed text. Silk work is an art form all its own. Belts have been suspended on skyhooks or used in coiled games of chance. Neck chains have linked and formed into long blended strands. Finger rings vanish, link, penetrate ropes…and appear in tightly sealed nested boxes. They fly invisibly to key chains or on to wands held tightly at each end by a spectator’s own hands. Pocket watches and wristwatches form the basis for some very classic effects. Bracelets, bangles, and even tie tacks and money clips have all been used in one way or another. Eyeglasses and fountain pens…even the flowers that adorn our labels have been a part of magic…as well as the wallets, coin purses, and handbags we may have with us given our gender. There is little which, with a bit of imagination, cannot be used either in an impromptu manner or prearranged/gimmicked which cannot be used in walk-on magic. Just consider the scope of the few things we have already touched upon!

Take a moment to inventory the objects you presently have on you as you read this article and the pieces of clothing you are wearing. Consider which might be used to generate an effect if you had to do one at this very moment. Consider too the ploys, sleights, and subtle subterfuges you presently know and have at your disposal. I would not hesitate to state, a matter of factly, that you could easily do at least a fifteen-minute spot of impromptu magic with just a bit of thought. This is without even going to the ever-present coins and bills we carry upon out person daily.

Ties and bracelets…shoelaces and finger ring…handkerchiefs and pens/pencils, business cards and pocket knives…all you need do is to put the combinations together in your mind. There have been hundreds of brilliant combinations offered in books over the decades. Draw upon this wealth of knowledge to strengthen your own creativity…then advance on your own. There are many more pieces of brilliance yet to be discovered. Make at least one of them your own!

Co-Directors Note’s: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…WOW!…BJG

September 1999

“Twisted Again”
Bobby J. Gallo

I have no doubt that anyone reading this has seen the small and very frustrating wire puzzles pictured above. We have all won them as consolation prizes from various carny games at the county fair. Usually, they are labeled as “Magic Tricks” even though they have no similarities to anything that can be classified as an illusion or sleight of hand.

The problem with these items is that there is virtually no use for them as far as performing so they almost always end up in the back of your magic drawer. As a matter of fact, I would wager that if you go to yours right now, you will find a few of these little things rattling around in the back somewhere.

I had a full gross of these puzzles lying around my office for about five years. I did not want to give them out as party favors or give them to my magic class students because they are impossible to teach. As a matter of fact, they are nearly impossible to do at all.

So why are they the subject of a lesson? Because upon thinking of uses for them, I came up with a premise that could be made into a real interesting close-up routine.

The magician shows a small wire puzzle that is locked together and talks about his fond memories of winning it at a carnival fair during his childhood. Upon displaying it, he hands it to a spectator with the request that the spectator solve it and separate the two pieces. The spectator finds this to be a daunting task and instead of taking up the rest of the performance time, the magician proposes a quicker way to solve the dilemma.

The magician takes back the puzzle, holds it in his closed fist, and then making a squeezing motion, opens his hand to reveal that the pieces are now separate and all may be examined!

There are two ways to accomplish this. For either method, you will need two identical sets of wire puzzles. This will cost you about 50 cents! Not bad for a close-up trick that will rank up there with the best of them!

The first method involves the act of “classic palming” the two separate puzzle pieces while the two joined pieces are displayed. As the joined puzzle is picked up it is “finger-palmed” in the same hand as the classic palmed separated puzzle. The hand is squeezed being careful not to mix up the two sets of puzzles. The separated pieces are then dropped onto the table. The joined puzzle can then be ditched using the old pencil ploy. Go to the pocket for a pencil or small magic wand to wave over the puzzle, then when the magic is complete, take the pencil with the finger-palmed pieces and drop them all in pocket taking care that they do not “talk”. The classic-palmed puzzle can also start out finger palmed and the latter puzzle classic palmed later if you prefer. This may feel more natural to some.

The second method involves the use of a bandanna and a rubber band. Here we are going to use the classic coin vanish as a switch for the puzzles.

Take the rubber band and put it around the first and middle fingers of the right hand. Hold the bandanna in the same hand draping over the hand that has the rubber band. Now follow this carefully. Classic-palm the separated puzzle pieces THROUGH the handkerchief in the right hand. At the same time form a well in the bandanna inside of the rubber band.

Open the fingers that the rubber band is wrapped around and stick the joined puzzle into the bandanna, When the rubber band is slipped off the fingers, a pouch is formed around the puzzle keeping it trapped within the cloth.

Shake the separated puzzle out of the bandanna and while the spectators are gasping in amazement, but the bandanna away and you are clean.

In my mind, this is better is some ways than that of a straight solid through solid effect because the audience will think that you actually CAN dis-assemble the puzzles with only one hand in a mere matter of seconds and that is VERY impressive. It also serves to misdirect them away from the real secret of having two sets of puzzles since it in theory is indeed possible to separate the pieces.

Also, if the two identical puzzles you purchase are already joined together, that means you will have to solve one set and separate them…Good luck! Heh, heh.

How is this for being creative Ron????????

August 1999

I would like to address two situations that I hear about quite a bit. One of them involve performance of card tricks and the other is how to approach a person to perform close-up magic.

These are just my humble opinions but I feel the need to discuss them because of their relative importance….Bill Wisch

Those Bad Ole’ Card Tricks
Bill Wisch

You hear or will hear it said that card tricks aren’t for everyone and most women can’t stand them.

I defy anyone to show me a good card trick that I don’t enjoy!

The emphasis is on GOOD!…a GOOD card trick.

The old line is “there are no bad tricks…just bad magicians.” In a sense I agree with that blunt generalization but only after several things are mentioned. First, there ARE no bad tricks…just boring…dull…lifeless…drawn-out…out-of-context…poorly presented tricks that only are bad because they are being performed with no purpose and/or involvement story, for the wrong person, at the wrong time, at the wrong place, with the wrong prop(s)…that’s all!

Second, a magical performer is only as good as his confidence will allow. When someone begins magic they get a true gift that doesn’t happen in any other art except magic…the ability to get results and mystify someone without knowing why or how. Why do you think they make gimmicks and box tricks? The prop will work the mystery itself and the performer will get most if not all of the credit. Lucky us, and I must say, I truly enjoyed that benefit when I first started out. However, once someone stays around for a while and discovers that there are many facets to this art that “ain’t” going to be easy and will be very time consuming, well then, that person must decide if it’s all worth it. I find that if someone knows they can handle any situation in their respective field then they are confident and do exceptional work. The same holds true in magic. Without confidence you’re going nowhere, Jack, and who wants to be a nervous wreck every time they stand in front of a spectator with a trick and a secret?

Well, before I get too far off track, let me mention still another thing…fit!
An effect must FIT a performer. When you try on a piece of clothing you notice how it looks and feels and then you make a judgment whether you like it or not, right? The same holds true in magic, but how many times do we just grab the first thing we see on the proverbial rack…put it on and then go off to the most important occasion of the year looking like the emperor in his birthday suit? And then we expect everyone to tell us how great our clothes look even though we make into Kelly, Jr. look like he’s right out of a page in GQ.

I’ll say it again….I defy anyone to show me a good card trick that I don’t enjoy. In fact, I defy anyone to show a good card trick to ANYBODY that won’t be enjoyed! Everybody loves playing cards. They might have different reasons why but millions of decks of playing cards aren’t manufactured and sold every year without everyone wanting to use them, play with them or just marvel at what they can do for and with them. Everybody loves them!

One more thing…when you can do five GOOD card tricks that fit you and are simple to watch and perform with justification and emotional involvement included, just do one or two for any specific audience. When you can do five thousand, six hundred and forty eight GOOD card tricks that fit you and are simple to watch and perform with justification and emotional involvement included, just do one or two for any specific audience. Then do something else magical. After all, even though the emperor had a wardrobe fit for a king, he could only wear one birthday suit at a time.

The Approach
Bill Wisch

You’re loaded for bear…every pocket is ready and they’re playing your song. You actually have people in a room or place that you can perform some magic tricks for. Granted you don’t know if they’re going to like you, in fact they may be ready to chew your thumb tip off when you , heaven forbid, attempt to show them a trick. Everything’s up in the air. The question is, how can you keep present circumstances or situations from raining on your parade of mystery and pleasures of wonder? Very simple…perform something magical.

“Can I help you?” A salesperson in a store might ask you that in a pleasant way. Or you may be familiar with certain salespeople that approach you in a store and just scare the hell out you. Some are just that way! You’re not sure what they’re going to do or say. You can just feel that they’re going to make your life miserable until you get your carcass out of the store and breathe a sigh of relief. Your only recourse is to give them the magic words…”I’m just looking, thanks.” If, after the magic words, they don’t leave you alone then you will get annoyed and rightfully so.

Magicians seem to affect certain people the same way. One scenario…you’re out for that long-awaited dinner…the kids have a great baby sitter. You have the whole evening. You just got a raise and can afford this high priced meal with all the trimmings. Your wife thinks you’re Prince Charming (again) because you finally got the chance to get dressed up, take her out and wine and dine her. The only thing you know you want at this point is a great dinner with the chance to chat and be together. Now this guy in a bulging tuxedo and/or with an armload of stuff or a briefcase comes along and asks you if you’d like to see a magic trick. You probably don’t even realize you want to be entertained by this guy and try to buzz him off. Or you may be like some folks and be nice enough to say OK and hope it doesn’t spoil the mood. Then, depending on whether you like the magician or not and what you ascertain his or her skill level to be, you may actually enjoy it and want to see more (except card tricks…everybody hates them!).

When you ask the prospective spectators if they want to watch you while they’re having a deep conversation about the world situation and they try to buzz you off with those other magic words, “no thanks”, your only recourse is to politely be on your way without them ever having the golden opportunity of watching you and your magic. What a shame…especially since you really aren’t a bad person and actually like kids, go out of your way to help people and aren’t trying to sell them anything.

I have the answer and it has worked for me for almost thirty years. I don’t ask them anything. I don’t carry arms full of stuff or have bulging pockets. I just walk up and say, “Would you do me a favor?”, then I do my very best production of something (usually a silver dollar – people love money!)…and say, “Would you take a look at this?”…and I hand it to them. They take the coin and look at it…and I’m on my way. They know I’m a magician…they’re involved before they even realize it…without them feeling pushed into it.

Granted, there have been times when I could sense that they really weren’t interested at that moment, or that they were in the middle of World War Three, or for whatever reason, they said those magic words, “no thanks.” In that case, I just thank them and move along knowing that I gave it my best shot. But, truthfully I can say it hasn’t happened more than ten times in all these years…honestly! And best of all, I then get the chance to do at least one or two more effects for them and they actually get the chance to enjoy my work, which, thankfully, helps to make their time and occasion more enjoyable and memorable. Everybody wins!

The old saying in sales is, “if you don’t ask, you don’t get and you can’t lose what you haven’t got.” Well, that doesn’t hold true in magic. I believe it should be…” if you don’t DO, they don’t WATCH and you can’t fool’em if you don’t rule’em.”

The real secret on making an approach, I believe, is not to give them the chance to say no without actually seeing you do at least one thing. It’s not the end of the world if you carry a prop or two, or even a briefcase or portable table. I know some performers who prefer and thrive that way. It works for them. But all you have to do is go up and say something like, “You may find this interesting”, or “You want to see something really neat?”, and while you’re saying it just do a one-step effect (a production usually works best).

This approach will not only make it easier for your audience to appreciate and get involved in what you’re doing, but it will virtually eliminate those “awkward” moments when we are in effect saying, “Can I help you?”

July 1999

Little Yellow Squishy Things
Bobby J. Gallo

Many magicians that teach, never seem to share the material that they actually use in their own personal acts. Why I really don’t know. The chances of magicians crossing paths with the same material seem to be slim. However, it should also be noted that the student should always strive to be original. Copying another’s style is one sure way to magical obscurity. One can never duplicate another’s act to perfection. Only magicians own creations will ever have that spark of
star quality

That being said, it seems that I have been sharing my entire act, piece by piece on I.C.O.M. The reason for this is simple. The lessons I give here WORK, plain and simple. And the following is the fruit of many years of performing.

It seems that there are almost as many sponge ball routines as there are card tricks…Well…maybe not, but you get my point. Some multi-step routines are so involved that I cannot imagine anyone not getting the least bit confused when they are supposed to be entertained. The sponge ball vanishes, goes to the pocket, penetrates the hand, etc. etc. etc. And what about that unwritten rule that says sponge balls are only for a close-up?

In this lesson, I will try to show the student that the best sponge ball routines are the ones that are kept simple. Unless of course, you are performing before other magicians who THRIVE on complications. Laymen just want to be entertained.

I perform sponge balls in my stand-up show. I use them in just about every single performance and they are part of my “Ultimate Show-According to Me” found in the I.C.O.M Archives”. When other magicians criticize me for doing so, I just point out that CARDINI used to perform billiard ball manipulations on stage which just happen to be the same size as sponge balls and they have no problem being seen even from the back of the deepest auditorium. Furthermore, Nate Leipzig used to perform THIMBLE MANIPULATION on the stages of large vaudevillian theatres. Yes, Sponge balls are perfectly suited to stand-up use.

The Beauty of this presentation lies in it’s simplicity

Magician asks for the assistance of an audience member. When they arrive on the stage the magician ask them to identify a small yellow ball that he is holding. The only other piece of magical equipment that the audience sees is a standard magic wand tucked under the left armpit.

Regardless of what the audience says about the ball, you tell them that it is a “little yellow squishy ball.”(or whatever color you are using) and if they would be so kind, hold on to it very tightly and remember, ” DON’T LET ME GET IT!”

The magician then places the ball into the audience member’s hand and quickly removes it before they have a chance to close their hand. This comedy interlude is repeated several more times until the spectator is finally allowed to hold the ball.

A second ball is introduced and placed in the performers left hand. The right hand takes the wand out from under the left armpit and waves it over the left hand. Upon opening the left hand it is seen that the ball has vanished. The spectator is then asked how many balls they are holding. When they answer “one” the magician asks them to open their hand and it is seen that they are now holding both balls!

The magician picks up both balls and displays them to the wildly cheering crowd and places them back into the spectator’s hand with the request that they hold them even tighter than before and please, not to let the magician slip anything else into their hands when they are not looking!

A third ball is introduced and the former process is repeated. When the spectator opens their hand it is seen that they now holds all three balls! The Performer again displays them and motions for the audience to give the assisting spectator a big hand.

Many magicians reading this that are already familiar with sponge balls will be saying right about now, “that’s it?” It seems way to simple to be any good. Though many of you who have seen my lecture know that I do a great many routines that are very involved, such as my ring and rope routine. This is a vast departure that needs to be examined. Let me address a few points before I go on to the workings.

  • There are many reading this that have never handled or performed sponge balls. And though I use this routine professionally, it is also a great entry-level routine for the novice. This is after all, the Beginner’s Study <G>.
  • There are subtleties that the astute reader will notice. And that is the REAL subject of this lesson anyway.
  • One must remember that when performing any close-up type trick on the platform that many moves MUST be eliminated in order for the effect to be appreciated by a large crowd. Too many moves too easily get lost or are simply not seen.

What type of sponge balls to use? Goshman’s super soft seems to be the best for almost all applications. These come in many sizes. I use 2 inches, but you can use whatever you are comfortable with. The bigger the better for visibility. Additionally, the super-soft feature makes multiple balls in the spectator’s hands virtually undetectable.

I will bullet point the rest of the routine for the sake of clarity.

  • Four sponge balls are in the performer’s case, on the table behind another prop, or in the performer’s pocket. Let’s use the case method.
  • One ball is “finger palmed”. The next ball is grasped in the same hand as the finger palmed ball. The visible ball is held at fingertips concealing the hidden ball inside of the curled second, third, and fourth fingers.
  • The magic wand is picked up and held under the left armpit. (if you are left-handed, just switch positions.)
  • The spectator is asked to hold the ball. Here we use the same method described in the I.C.O.M archives entitled, “Peter Explained” to make the spectator psychologically keep from opening the hand prematurely. For a complete description of this method developed by myself and used with sponge rabbits, please refer to that lesson. You can see that it works equally as well with sponge balls.
  • The third ball is picked up. Remember, at this point, the spectators are aware of only the two.
  • It is vanished by using a false placement. This is done by pretending to place the ball in the left hand. The ball is retained in the right and the move is covered by IMMEDIATELY grasping the magic want that is under the left armpit and tapping the left hand that the audience believes holds the second? ball. The wand also gives justification to keep the right hand closed that now contains the “third ball”. This is a move similar to the one used in the famous Benson Bowl Routine.
  • The spectator is then asked to open their hands “slowly”. The ball vanished from your hand and traveled to theirs…first miracle.
  • The hand containing the vanished ball now picks up the fourth, (which the audience believes is the third.
  • The process is repeated verbatim. Yes, you can break one of the magician’s codes and repeat a trick here. Just keep it brisk.
  • The second ball travels to the spectator’s hand.
  • Motion for applause. Take all the balls and put them back in the case along with the extra ball still finger palmed.
  • Sometimes as an encore, I keep the last ball finger palmed upon putting them away if I see a child wearing a baseball cap. Which I then subsequently borrow and produce the ball out of.

Final Notes:
If you try this just the way I have outlined it you may find that any other vanishes, transpositions, productions, or penetrations of the sponge balls only served to act as “overkill”. Again, this is where layman are concerned. Magicians may be a different story. Then again, maybe not.


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 1997,1998,1999 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.

Secret Passageway 4/99-6/99


This Forum Is Rated PG

Introduction to this forum,

Magic has many facets and tastes. This area may not be for everyone, but then again YOU may not be everyone! This area is devoted to magic on the spooky side. It may deal with dark imagery and SUPERNATURAL themes. Due to overwhelming demand, we have included a forum devoted to this branch of the magical arts that has been coined, “Bizarre Magic”. This is theatre, plain and simple, and was a wildly popular form of magic around the beginning of the 20th century. It is STILL popular among many people as a way to bring more drama to magic.

The “Shadows” segments are a collection of previously unreleased original Bizarre publications that will appear quarterly. The artwork for “Shadows” are original and include a poem to set the mood for the coming months written by Ronald J. Dayton. With an added quote from noted writers.

2nd. quarter 1999

“Shadows” is a publication that 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.

When we were children….shadows and dark places often struck terror in our hearts. fear of the unseen, the unknown, was more than we could comprehend. Why then, as adults, so we still cling to friends, using them as human nightlights against our fears, when they are as afraid to open their eyes as we?

Where has the sun-drenched childhood wonder gone? Why has the thirst for knowledge been quenched by complacency?

You need only look into a child’s eyes to see the inner glow of wonderment. It is a light by innocence, and an insatiable hunger to learn. What a pity then, that as we mature….those eyes have been clouded with cataracts of content.

Dayton 2-15-93

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson – CIRCLES

June 1999

Dean Montalbano
Ronald J. Dayton

I believe you will find this to be a perfect little interlude during your very next party. Good times…good friends…a little refreshment, and the occult. Who could ask for anything more !?

Seriously however…this is a very nice piece of bizarre magic which will provide an unusual and interesting break from the norm at your next gathering. This works best for a smaller group of friends…say six to ten. It begins with a clever display of fate and fortunes with a Tarot Deck…and leads to additional, more unconventional paths of travel.

I wish I could take credit for everything you are about to read…but I cannot. The fact of the matter is, I have contributed very little. Beyond Tarot was created by a dear friend of mine…Dean A. Montalbano. His interests are extremely diversified…and I would most certainly consult with him for any background I might need concerning knowledge of the occult.


During the course of the evening, the subject of Tarot Decks if casually worked to the forefront of the conversations. There will be a degree of interest shown by those present, all-be-it reluctantly displayed by some. People are curious about the unknown…and even though they know better, they are often prone to drift toward knowledge best left undisturbed. And so it is this evening as they are seated around your dining room table.

You announce that what you would like to attempt is an experiment….a test if you will of the powers of the Tarot. Two identical Tarot Decks are produced…one from each side jacket pocket. One is pushed toward the individual seated opposite you with the request that he fans the cards toward himself, and remove all of the Major Arcana. If he is at all familiar with Tarot Decks, he will know what to do. If not…simply explains that these are the twenty-two cards with no suit of value….the picture cards of the deck if you should choose to view them in that way. They are to be removed one at a time from left to right…tabled face down…with each successive card going on top of the previous tabled card. When all twenty-two cards have been removed…the remaining suit cards are set to one side as they will not be needed in the

Your tabled Major Arcana will consist of: The Moon, The Star, The Tower, The Devil, Temperance, Death, The Sun, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, The Hanged Man, Justice, The High Priestess, The Magician, The Empress, The World, Judgement, The Fool, and The Emperor. The particular order will vary of course.

To quell suspicions of the skeptics within your ranks, both partial decks of twenty-two cards were placed face-up, side by side and the top card of each partial deck flipped face down one to its respective side…showing the randomness of order in a very fair and above-board manner.

One of the decks is returned to the guest as you use the other to demonstrate how the guest’s cards must be dealt with during the experiment…face down, one atop the other. You on the other hand will simultaneously be dealing from a face-up deck so no one can later accuse you of changing any of the cards. Your ( the host’s ) cards are removed from your face up deck and placed into a face-down pile upon the table. At any point during this disregarding process…the guest may say the word ” OUT “. When this is spoken, the next top card on each individual’s deck is tabled to one side. The guest’s cards are tabled face down…the hosts are face up.

After all twenty-two cards have been passed, they are again placed side by side, face-up upon the table. Once again, by simultaneously turning over and tabling each top card of the decks…they are shown to be in entirely different orders.

Now we have reached the conclusion of the experiment. Let us say, for sake of argument, that the guest called the word ” OUT ” five times. His five cards lay face down to one side… your cards are clearly visible in a face-up row. We shall also assume that the five face-up cards are The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower, The Magician, The Hanged Man, and the Fool. It is fair to say, I believe…that even the most skeptical individual person at the gathering would be surprised if there were three out of five random matches between the guest and yourself. That would even be a passing test in any ESP experiment as conducted originally at Duke University using twenty-five symbol cards. In that instance, in a series of four runs of twenty-five trials…twenty matches indicated ‘chance’….28 matches were ‘fair success’…and thirty-two indicated ‘ excellent results’. When you compare the Dr. Rhine experiment with the percentages found in the Tarot experiment…there really is no comparison.

If indeed, the powers of the Tarot Deck go beyond that of pure chance, perhaps they are magical and can chart our destiny?? With each turn of the guest’s tabled cards, anticipation and amazement grew. And in the end…there before them…removed from their very deck lay face-up cards. They were, in perfect order…The Wheel of Fortune, The Tower, The Magician, The Hanged Man, and The Fool! A perfect match to those removed and lying face up in front of the host with each call of ” OUT “.

” I know,” you confide in a somber tone. I was as amazed as you the first few times this happened. Now it has become as uneventful as a morning cup of coffee or my daily commute to work. I am not troubled by it…but…I find I do regret tempting the fates. I’ve discovered that the powers of the Tarot are not the kind to be dabbled in by the mere novice. You see…these ‘powers’ are not natural…not of our realm. When we unleash the Tarot…we open a Pandora’s Box into our midst.

” I was so totally unaware of the dangers when all this began. I hate to burden you with it now. But some things are better brought into the open…gotten off one’s chest.

About three weeks after my experiments and dabbling began…strange things began to happen, here in the house at night. I found lights I know I turned off in the evening, burning brightly the next day. There were sounds. Bumps and thumps I could not explain. Personal items from my nightstand were not where I put them when I awoke.

I thought at first that there was some vagrant who had broken into the basement or crept through an open window, and was hiding in the attic. But I have checked, time and time again. There is no one here. But then…I don’t have an explanation for what I’ve been finding in the bathroom. Come with me…I’ll show you what I mean.”

When you enter the bathroom, the first thing you point to is the waste-basket. it is cluttered with thick dark hair which seems to have been shorn in clumps from someone, or, something. The soap dish is cluttered with filthy nail clippings and the washbasin is soiled with what might be toothpaste. No one can be sure.

” I know you must think I am crazy for keeping these things…or at least for not calling the police. But quite frankly, I’m a little scared. I don’t know what it is we are dealing with here…but if you’ll stand with me, we can settle it once and for all tonight.

I took a chance and did one last reading of the Tarot Deck to see what path I could follow. It told me that there were powers present which would allow me to create the beast or Incubus that threatens me…to bring it at will to flesh and form.

We must combine the hair and nails and whatever has been spat into my sink, place it into a bowl, and mix and grind it well. Once ground to a paste, the tip of this ancient statuette must be dipped into it. If all goes well, the Incubus will appear, and the statuette will symbolically destroy her. We shall see.”

As make-shift tools…a shaving mug is removed from the medicine cabinet along with its sturdy handled brush. A snippet of the hair is first to be dropped into the mug, followed by a pinch of the disgusting nails. Most repulsive of all…a bit of the slimy sludge in the basin of the sink is scooped up using a section the statuette. The statuette is tabled on the vanity for a moment as the handle of the shaving brush is used to grind the components into a paste. That done…the statuette is again picked up and dipped into the demonic mix as you utter a chant of some sort deep and low within your throat.

A noise is heard, muffled, somewhere in the distance. Another room perhaps…something is stirring. The lights begin to flicker and dim as the intensity of your chant increases. Then, without warning…there is a horrific scream. The door in the room directly across the hall swings open with a hellish fury, and there, framed in the blackness of the room stands a hideous looking temptress of the night. Her eyes are dark and empty. Her face is twisted and contorted as animal screeches fill the air.

The guests are in shock. The lights flicker one more time as you step slightly forward and wave the statuette into the air. Your foe howls in pain… As her hands pull briefly aside…the cloth is seen stained with deep red blood. She grabs her chest again, then stumbles back just a bit into the darkness as a huge flash fills the doorway. At that very moment…the lights go out completely.

Your petrified guests stand frozen in their spot, unable to move. There is a mixture of nervous laughs and crying in the room. You plead with them to be calm. After a long thirty seconds or so, the lights come on full once again. You peer across the hall to find the door is once again closed…and wisps of smoke are gradually clearing from the space.

It is you who first approaches the door…grabs the knob and gives it a cautious turn…but it is locked. As you turn to face your bewildered guests once again…the door you just checked slowly opens part way. In time…when courage is at its peak…you and several friends turn on the light and enter the room. It is empty but for the exception of a blood-stained throw rug near the door, and a small clump of thick black hair.

All will be in a bit of shock. It is time for the night to end. As the guests depart, you thank them for their help and pledge solemnly never to tempt the fates again.


The Matching of Random Cards: Although the two Tarot Decks appear to be shown clearly in random order…things of magical nature are not always as they seem. They are in fact…in identical order at the start…identical REVERSED order that is! Prior to the removal of the twenty-two Major Arcana cards…the top card of each full deck matches the bottom card of the other…the card second from the top matches the card second from the bottom and so forth through the entire deck. When the two decks are placed side by side, face-up, and simultaneously shown by turning the top card of each deck over and tabling it to its respective side face down… the cards appear to be well mixed and each deck totally different.

The spectator ( guest ) is given one of the decks face down as you use the other to demonstrate how he is to disregard his cards in the phase to follow. You hold your deck face down and deal them off one at a time face down on to the table as you explain the process. What you are doing, in reality, is secretly reversing the order of the deck you hold into the exact same order as the cards you have just given to your guest. Your flow of chatter continues throughout as you explain the way in which the guest will be allowed to randomly call ” OUT ” at any point to indicate that is where each of you is to table a random selection. You explain as well that his/her cards should always be tabled face down…and yours will be tabled face up to prevent any trickery.

It is at this point that the Major Arcana cards are removed from left to right and tabled face down to one side of your respective decks. The remaining cards are put well to the side since it is only the packet of twenty-two Major Arcana pasteboards we are working within the experiment.

The dealing now begins. Each card you deal from the top of your deck is dealt face-up…one atop the other. As a card is called ‘out’ by the guest, you place yours on the table face up as the spectator tables theirs face down. You both then return to your dealing piles and repeat the removal process at the discretion of the guest’s call of ‘out’.

When all is done…your deck will be in exactly the same order you started with…but the guests ( since they were dealing face down one atop the other ) will now be reversed. You are free to turn both decks face up, and once again prove the cards are well mixed and in random order. However…the remarkable part of this entire sequence of events is this…because the cards were in the same order as you dealt them off…the face down and face up disregards removed at each call of ‘out’, will match EXACTLY !!

The Incubus: The first show of proof of the Tarot is given in the demonstration at the dining room table. It is here that the groundwork for the remainder of the evening is laid. It is your tone and your conviction that will sell the totality of the effect. The events which follow in the bathroom and the adjoining room are basically pure theater.

The statuette can be virtually anything that looks a little eerie, from a spooky child’s toy, to something found in a nic-nac shop. Keep your eye out for things that can work in the context of the routine. Remember, the idea here is to produce something that looks like an ancient artifact of sorts.

The hair may be purchased at any craft store were doll supplies and wigs are available. The nails and clippings are bits and pieces cut from a lady’s press-on nail kit found at most variety stores. The bit of grunge in your basin may well be some of the toy store variety slime and goo so popular these days mixed with a bit of toothpaste. As an alternative mix…use toothpaste, a bit of egg white, and some green or yellow food coloring.

The lighting must be controlled via a remote dimmer switch via your female accomplice in the adjoining room. She is of course…there from the start. Any variety of Halloween makeup and wigs will provide the grotesque look she sports. The screams and howls may be pre-recorded and played on demand for the best effect.

The bright flash just prior to her disappearance is simply a Fism-Flash hidden in the darkness of the room…positioned just in front of the Incubus. And finally, the blood which pours from her chest is simply a blood blatter filled with fake blood, and broken on cue as she grasps for her chest.

Moments later, it is she who unlocks the door just prior to her secret exit from the room. No one will be in a hurry to approach, believe me…so there is ample time for her to leave. The stained rug and hair were there from the start. The Fism-Flash makes a silent departure with your accomplice.

One of the oddest things about this presentation it seems to me is the fact that the demonic female form never really vanishes at all. The door simply closes in front of her. But the later inspection of the room reveals absolutely nothing. ( She of course has left by a predetermined route…be it a door to yet another room and then to the outside…or possibly, in a window in a one-story dwelling.) It is ‘implied’ that she has vanished into thin air. And although that is not what the guest have seen…it is what they will remember. The blood-stained throw rug and a clump of hair are all that remain.

The premise of the nails and hair were Deans originally. I have generated the touches of the Incubus and her flight. I hope you have enjoyed the premise…and that you will find a way to present it which pleases and entertains both you and your guests.

May 1999

(Spirited Slates)
Ronald J. Dayton

Slate Writing or Spirit Slates have been employed by both mediums and magicians for many decades past. Spirit Mediums would present the slates as actual physical proof of having made contact with the world beyond. Messages would appear in an eerie manner…written on slates previously shown to be blank The usual method employed two wooden frame slates, which were very common in earlier days…being used by students to write their lessons in school. The slates were shown in a convincing manner on each side, then stacked together. Often, the joined slates were held, resting in the lap of the person attempting to contact a deceased loved one. The medium would then go into a trance…and while in this state, supposedly cross-over to the other side…and contact, and actually become the intermediate for the deceased soul. Eventually, the medium came out of their trance-like state…and when the slates were separated, a message to the paying customer was written on the slate. The impression created was that it was a direct contact from the departed relative/ friend.

These spirit mediums were frauds and crooks…bilking innocent people out of their money. Often, when the parties involved were fully convinced and deceived into believing what was taking place was really real….the sessions would go on for months and sometimes even years. Entire life savings would exchange hands in time…going from the believed individual, to the con artist.

Magicians on the other hand later presented these slate effects in pseudo spiritualistic presentations. It was obvious to all involved that the displays of spiritualism were purely entertainment…and were not claimed to be genuine. Magicians perform the slates as pure theater…and their audiences accept it in this light.

But what are the Spirit Slates…and what principles are employed in their working? Simplicity is the key to their success. Simplicity, and very subtle and calculated handling. Much of their impact is due to psychology…and the power of suggestion. It is important to create an atmosphere for the slates. Theatrics, lighting, music, and carefully prepared dialog are important factors as well. The spectators must be guided into a way of thinking, a mindset, if you will, which, will help to suspend disbelief and logic for a while. You must play on their weaknesses…and find the Achile’s Heel steeped in myths and even fears of the After Life and the spirit world beyond. The questions of our own mortality which live in the dark recesses of our minds. And when you have succeeded…the strength of the presentation will belie the very ordinary and even bold method used.

The slates, as has been mentioned earlier, are nothing more than that in their most basic form. Two wood frame slates. The writing surface is recessed evenly within the frame of each. But the diabolically clever gimmick to work the magic is nothing more than a piece of sturdy cardboard stock, cut to fit within the framework and lay against one side of the slate…but loose enough to fall out if the slate is tipped over. This cardboard has been painted flat black on both sides. It is also wise to spray each side with a clear flat sealer, available in the art
supply and craft stores.

The medium or magician writes whatever message they want to appear on one surface of the slate prior to the presentation. The black cardboard insert is then placed over the writing. When the slates are held properly, one in each hand, they may be shown very casually on both sides. Everything seems to be fair. The unprepared slate is placed atop the flap covered side of the gimmicked slate. In the act of placing the two squared up slates on a table, or on the spectator’s lap…the the slates are turned over. The flap piece falls into the recess of the bottom slate. When the top slate is eventually lifted…the writing is revealed!

The impact of the effect can be doubled…a message appearing on each of the slates, by simply writing one message in chalk on surface of one slate…and another message on one side of the cardboard flap. The two messages are put face to face, leaving only the other black side of the flap visible against the slate. The stacking and tipping are executed as before. This time, when the slates are parted…a mysterious ghost message is found on each slate.

Care must of course be executed when working with the free-falling flap style slates. For that reason, magicians devised what is known as Locking Slates. These slates have built-in devices within the frames that will lock and hold the flap or flaps in place.

Some style slates have hinged half flaps which may or may not also lock. These flaps drop down along the length of the slate. The slates usually have white lines, much like the ones on lined writing paper, to conceal the point at which the flap is hinged in the center. It also makes it logically easier to list various words or numbers printed on the slate. These slates are used for mathematical effects in most instances.

To think that slates are no longer viable in magic today is a huge mistake. I have a copy of a presentation of magic by a dear friend, now deceased…Frank Olkowski. Frank was an old-time performer of the highest caliber. He was part of a group that became affectionately known to me as ” The Trio.” Three long time friends on the east coast, who befriended me for a good number of years. Sadly, all are gone now. Frank Olkowski, Jack Steck, and Joe Van Hart. They were to me, both supportive, and inspirational. Writing this article on slates reminded me of Franks’s routine. I am fortunate enough to have it on video. It is a perfect example of how strong the slates can be when properly presented. To this day…I can only have theories on what Frank did to accomplish it. I’m thinking it is a series of multiple flap slates…but, I can’t be sure because of how flawlessly he handled them. I smile to think of it.

The premise of Frank’s handling was so simple that that is where it’s strength lies. He used two slates, and a piece of white chalk. He talked a bit about the chalk and the fact that it was white. then he said, ” You know…this calk can also write in colors !” With that, he printed the word ‘white ‘ on one side of one slate. Turning the slate over, he wrote ‘ blue’. Stacking the slates, he wrote the color ‘red’…and turning the slates one last time, he printed the word ‘ green.’ After a moment, the audience fully realized that they have been ‘had’. All of the colors were written in white. Frank then turned the slate stack face forward once again to show the word ‘ white ‘ printed in white chalk. Now is when the real magic began! he said words to the effect of; ” If this were not just plain white chalk…but magic chalk instead… ( pause ), perhaps the words would really have been written in color!” Saying that he pivoted the back slate to the side and facing front. The word ‘ green ‘ was now written in green chalk…and turning the two slates around, one in each hand, the words ‘red’ and ‘blue’ were written in bright red chalk and beautiful ‘blue’ chalk as well.

I have long thought that the flaps could be eliminated if someone made a slate or pair of slates which worked on a Sand Frame principle. I have seen in recent years, smaller pocket size slates which were self-contained…and would produce the desired message which was under your control at all times. I do not know how they work…and couldn’t tell you if I did. But the very fact that they are available may mean you might be able to acquire one if you so desire.

The fact that slates are not as commonplace today as they once were does not mean that the principles employed cannot be adapted to slate-like articles such as memo boards that use dry erase making pens. Office supply houses are an incredible place to browse. Although the writing surfaces pens with which to write are a far cry from the more ancient slates and chalk… the construction of each is very similar. A thinking performer might just find a way to make it work. How marvelous to have a note board or memo board which is so wildly accepted by people…and use them as a tool to create seemingly impossible effects!!

If you make a concerted effort to dig into the rich history of slate magic…you may find many novel and interesting ploys other than flaps. The way a message is written on a slate has some- times been used as the key to deception. Careful arrangement of equally carefully spaced letters which were painted on the slate with flat white paint…then combined with other letters to fill in the blanks…printed in chalk would create logical sentences or messages which secretly hid the presence of a number total or card value. Erasing the message while it faced away from the audience meant you were erasing only the letters written in chalk. When the slate was turned toward the audience…the hidden total or chosen card was revealed.

One clever marketed effect, still available from Abbott’s Magic Co., is the Pig That Turned ‘Round. It is a mechanical slate, with a funny visual finale’.

I have used a slate for an effect called Calculated Risk. In my version, a series of genuine three-digit numbers were printed on the slate. Each of two spectators were then allowed to total the columns both horizontally and vertically as a system of checks and balances to ensure everything was on the level. At the conclusion of the effect, they were to announce their totals. Each was different. They were then asked to subtract one total from the other, and remember the difference. A prediction envelope, which was in plain view on the table from the start was now opened, and the prediction inside was read aloud. It told the difference between the two numbers. the spectators then announced what their difference was…and the numbers matched perfectly.

The whole secret to this effect was nothing more than the use of a
series of several three-digit numbers…each digit of which could be inverted or turned upside down to create a new three-digit number. The tricky part was to find combinations that totaled the same when added horizontally and then vertically…but had a noticeable difference when only the three-digit columns were totaled vertically. By some miracle, while I was toying with the basic idea, I managed to find the right combination the very first try. Talk about dumb luck! <G>

So in closing, I would like to say that I hope this has created some degree of interest for you in slate work. I have not, of course, been able to touch on every phase of this little corner of magic…but its history is so rich, it simply wouldn’t be right to allow it to be forgotten. Please do not allow yourself to be drawn into thinking that just because slates are no longer relevant to society for the most part, that the principles used decades ago are no longer relevant either. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Look to the modern equivalents to slates for inspiration. Discover how to make the changes. Work to make it work for you. There are pages upon pages of ideas and time-honored methods at your disposal. The only thing you have to do is to make the effort to find them. A nice place to start is once again, the Tarbell Course In Magic. One well-honed and routined effect could well be your secret to success. If you doubt me…take a look, someone’s written it on your memo board.

April 1999

Ronald J. Dayton

A Lesson In The Framing of Bizarre Magic Theatre

What a gala night of wonder. Uninvited neighbors will peep out from behind closed window blinds in total disbelief as your guests arrive dressed in the period style of London’s 1800’s. Although their modern-day carriages are powered by high octane horses…their spirit is that of the wealthy upper class.

The food, the table settings, music and decor reflect the pains you have gone through to make this a special event indeed. You have spared no expense. And as the Bizarre drifts advancing hours…your friends are as yet unaware of the brutally gruesome lesson you have so lovingly prepared.

After the games and dance and songs…After the meat pies and plum, puddings have been washed down by warm red wines, the assembled throng of humanity quiet to a low buzz of anticipation as you tap your empty goblet with your fork to focus their attention. That goal achieved…you make an announcement for one and all.

“Kind sirs and gentle ladies…you have gladdened my heart with your attendance this night. We are, as you know…in another time and place. And if you should be so inclined…I have prepared a bit of nonsense for your entertainment, and edification. Join me now, won’t you dear friends, as we retire to another room…deeper into this evolving world of fantasy we have created.

Your guests file out in orderly fashion, following your lead. The new room they enter has been emptied of its usual furnishings…and has been transformed into a mini-theater of sorts. The atmosphere is a bit unnerving. The far back of the room is lined with rows of chairs at which the guests are seated. Directly in front of them, a fog-like haze drifts mere inches off the floor. The framework of a large closed door stands like some isolated remnant of a long-dead theatrical set. To either side, a flickering English gas lamp burns, They are basically the only illumination in the room, save the strange glow of amber light filtering up from beneath the flowing gray mist at your feet.

Your narrative begins with a serious, almost ominous tone.

“My duties as host this evening permit me the luxury of designating tasks to others. I will simply convey thoughts and facts…weaving a tale of macabre and sinister events. Two esteemed and valued cohorts will match the imagery to action. I fear what you see may not be pleasing to your sensibilities. The graphic nature may be a bit too much. I trust, forewarned…you still thirst to know of what I speak.

The location is a dreary, disease-riddled section of London’s East End, Autumn of 1888. Fog and darkness blanket the narrow back streets and alleyways like a black veil of impending evil. It is not safe for anyone to venture out…but of necessity, some have no option. This district of the city, known at Whitechapel is a seething slop bucket of poverty, infirmity, and death. Driven by survival alone.

The heavy door in the stylized framework slowly begins to open. There, framed against a background of blackness stands the figure of a lady. She is shabbily dressed. A battered hat, a flattened disc of faded perry winkle rests precariously atop her head. Gnatty strands of unkempt, brittle hair hang adoringly to her shoulders.

A soot smudged collar assumed once to be white but now almost tallow in color encircles her neck. A burgundy knit shawl caresses her shoulders…as if a tablecloth for some banquet only desperate men would attend. Her hands are tucked within a simple muff for warmth. It is the only comfort she is likely to find this night.

A simple dress hangs down to them to bathe in the cesspool of filthy and runoff on the Whitechapel cobblestone streets. The dress conceals badly worn shoes, and torn stockings rolled down to her knees. Nothing however can conceal the gaunt, almost surreal chalk-like mask of make-up that identifies her trade. The gaudy patches of rouge and smears of lipstick. The nagging cough that warns of something else.

Somewhere in the shadows…there is a man who beckons her. It is August 31st, 1888…as Mary Ann Nicols is approached for the very last time.

She will not be the only victim of this twisted beast. Monsters need not come to us from hades. They are here among us, wrapped in the flesh of man. Our ability to inflict pain and suffering upon our fellow human beings is well documented. Who can know the madness that fuels their corrupt needs? Who can know the horror of the moment?

Fears grew to a fever pitch in Whitechapel as the frequency and brutality of the attacks increased. The body count grew from August 31st on through most of the year. Annie Chapman, Sept 8th…Elizabeth Stride, Sept. 30th along with Cathrine Eddowes on the very same date. Mary Jane Kelly was the last of the confirmed victims…being taken on Nov. 9th, 1888. She was almost unrecognizable…

Unknown to most are thirteen additional souls suspected of falling prey to this monster. A woman known only as ” Fairy Fay ” may have been the very first…Dec. 26th, 1887. A woman named Annie Milkwood was murdered on Feb. 25th of 88, Ada Wilson on March 28th, Emma Smith, April 3rd, Martha Tabram, Aug. 7th, Annie Farmer, Nov. 20th…Rose Mylette, Dec. 20th. Then moving to the following year we discover Elizabeth Jackson, June of 89, Alice McKenzie in July. the killer seemingly took a break of sorts, with the next body being that of Frances Coles, Feb. 13th, 1891, and Carrie Brown on April 24th. Oct. 3rd of 1888 and Sept. 10th of 1889 also resulted in two additional nameless victims…each missing their head at the time of their discovery.

Eighteen prospective suspects were revealed and examined during these brutal years. Each thought to be the butcher of Whitechapel. None were ever proven. None convicted of the atrocities. But to this day…one name lives on in infamy. You know it well. The name is Jack the Ripper.

With these words…the sound of echoing, approaching footsteps are heard in the distance. A figure emerges slowly from the shadows. He appears to be a man of means. Formal dress and half cape. Gold tipped ebony walking stick…quality shoes and finely crafted gloves. The crowning touch is the stately top hat with a smart white satin band. Quite eloquent from head to toe. Just the sort of man Mary Ann Nicols has hoped to come along. That was her wish. ( Pause ) Be careful what you wish for.

The dapper figure moves in calculated increments…like a black jackel…looking for the weakness. He draws near and whispers something in her ear. She turns her back to him as if responding to some request. He nervously taps the tip of his cane against the street. Mary is frozen in place…fearful of doing anything which might chase him away. He seems after all…a gentleman indeed.

Co-Director Notes:

“This is about as much as I can publish of this routine. What follows after this brilliant introductory story is a series of original macabre magical effects built around the dark deeds of Jack the Ripper. So graphic was the subject matter that I have opted to leave the rest of the routine out.

I do, however, want you to take the above as a superior lesson in how to “Frame” an effect. It is entirely possible for the student to write similar scripts in the effort to engross an audience and give them a magical “experience” rather than just a simple magic puzzle that is merely presented for them to figure out.

I was once quoted as saying that Spirit/Bizarre magic was “The Final Frontier” of the conjuring arts. I still believe that to be true. Because only in this area can you actually suspend disbelief, and for a very brief moment (perhaps longer) you can make an audience accept the existence of magic.”


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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 1997,1998,1999 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.

Kid Show Konservatory 4/99-6/99


June 1999

Magical (?) Sticker Printing
Bobby J. Gallo

Notice the blank leader atop of roll of stickers* caused by what else? Handing out the stickers of course!

This routine is one of those rare gems that you stumble upon by accident, then use as a regular item in every show hence.

As many of you know, since I do not use animal balloons in my kid show, I prefer to hand out stickers instead. Kids love’em, they are cost effective and do not take up valuable show time to “twist”. Also, stickers, in my mind, are among one of the safer items to hand out to kids. Schools hand them out as rewards for good behaviour and academic achievements all the time. So if they like stickers, then maybe I should as well. Of course as always, when it comes to handing anything out to kids, “you are on your own!” For even stickers are not recommended for children 3 and under.

One thing you will notice when using stickers that come in a “roll” as opposed to ones that come printed on a sheet. After only as few as two shows you are left with a long paper leader where the stickers used to be. During one show, I told the kids that they were going to get magical stickers. I pulled the roll out. The same one that I had already used for two previous shows that day and displayed it. The kids yelled “where are the stickers?” I looked and proceeded to unroll the long paper leader. They laughed as I acted like I was surprised to find that the paper was blank. Then a thought came to me. I will have the kids say a magic word, and if I time it just right, the stickers will come into view as they say it.

I said, “say abracadabra!” and as they did, the stickers came into view and what do you know?, I got a tremendous reaction! Now don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t fool adults at all save for a few at your local magic club, (just kidding) but it is an extremely handy gag for the kids and adds just a tad of entertainment into the otherwise hum-drum act of handing out stickers.

*To find out more about stickers to hand out at your shows, call ALBERT THE STICKER MAN/HOLLY SALES (904) 223-5828 for a fantastic selection of stickers for entertainers including the ones you see in the photo.

May 1999

The Gag Climax
Bobby J. Gallo

Ever notice that magic like music usually has a set series of steps that are used to create a complete routine? The trick usually starts with a patter opener, then either more patter or music for the main body of the trick, then almost without fail, the climax or end of the trick is some grand climax that always has to be magical in nature.

But is this how is always has to be? After all, our primary function as entertainers is to ENTERTAIN! so if that is indeed the case, how else can we structure the end of a magical routine?

I have found in many circumstances that a routine can be put together in four basic ways.

  1. Magical Beginning, Magical, Middle, Magical End.
    This means that in each step of the routine, magic effects take place with usually the strongest effect last.
  2. Non-Magical Beginning, Magical, Non-Magical Middle, Magical End.
    This is very common. It merely means a patter opener followed by more patter/comedy or a series of tricks culminating into a climax.
  3. Magical Beginning, Magical, Middle, Comedy End.
    This is where the magic starts the trick off but a comedy gag finishes the routine.
  4. Non-Magical Beginning, Middle, Comedy end.
    This starts with “magic theme” patter and ends up with a gag finish.

Numerous tricks illustrate the practicality of what I am stating here. The following is a list of magic that uses one of the above mentioned structures.

  1. The Classic Baby Gag-#4
  2. The end of the Linking Card routine found in the I.C.O.M Archives entitled, Devil’s Play Link.-#3
  3. The climax to the Bobby J. Gallo Commando Ring & Rope Routine.-#3
  4. The Classic 52 in 1 Card-#4
  5. Any of the myriad of “KID SHOW” items where snakes jump out from a magical looking prop. Remember, there is no magic here, but the climax is still entertaining and the introduction of surprise is an element that is allied to magic.-#4
  6. The ever popular Rabbit In The Hat Puppet is a great example. Here is a prop that adults and kids alike know is not real, but yet has a magical element to it and since it is comedic in nature, can be classified as a rabbit gag.

There are numerous others including a certain very popular close-up trick involving the use of spiders… yuck!, but the point is, it actually may be beneficial to have a few routines like this dispersed throughout your show. Why? It adds texture and interest rather than having the same set series or as Bill Wisch likes to say, “PARADE” of trick after trick after trick.

I think most pro’s come to this conclusion after a certain point, but it with the beginner that this technique of dispersing non-magical items into a show must be realized. I’ll never forget a stand-up comedian friend of mine saying that he hates card tricks because they are so boring. Maybe if the magician that created that view in his mind used some of these methods, his opinion would be different.

For a final thought it should also be mentioned, that for notable exceptions such as the “rabbit in the hat puppet”, Gag endings should not be overused and always used as an adjunct to regular magic. Keep the audience in the dark as to the true nature of the gag climax till the last possible moment for maximum impact, and as the old magic adage goes….keep em’ guessing.

April 1999

My Name is Magician
Bobby J. Gallo

At first reading, like so many of my other articles, this subject may seem a bit trivial. But many trivial things add up to make a complete whole as far as a performance career. Be that as it may, I think this is a very important link in the chain of elements that a modern magician needs in order to perform and function in a crazy modern world.

As a preface to what I am about to discuss, let me tell you why it all came about. They say necessity is the mother of invention and in this case those words could not be truer.

The toughest part of roving and trade show magic is without doubt, “the approach” there have been books written about this and without fail at magic lectures, people often ask me how I deal with “the approach”. For those of you who do not know what I mean by the term “approach”, Let me just say that it is the act of literally approaching a group of total strangers or even a single person and performing a show for them that they never asked for and sometimes don’t even want. The inherent problem with the approach is the fact that you very quickly have to establish yourself as an entertainer before the audience gets a pre-conceived notion that you are some extremely weird person approaching them for no apparent reason. As magicians, we are by our very nature, “weird” but that is besides the point. Even after we have introduced ourselves, the damage is done. Something subconscious had grabbed our audience, put them on guard and the subsequent performance suffers as a result. Even if this is not the case, in a restaurant situation you do not want to be mistaken for the waiter and heaven forbid you approach the children without the parents knowing who you are in advance and you may be looking at physical injury (Not that I can say I blame them in this milk carton day and age). In the trade show environment it is a similar reaction for entirely different reasons. Once you approach a busy conventioneer striding down the isle, you are immediately perceived as one of several thousand sales people trying to get their business. You can only imagine how much they want to stop and see your nifty color changing paddle routine.

All this being said, the question remains, “how do you address all of these very important obstacles?” Because they are indeed obstacles. The partial answer lies in the simple, but powerful BUTTON! Did I just say button? As in button that you wear on your lapel? Yep!, that’s what I said alright. And it is far more effective at addressing all of the concerns I have mentioned than a hundred cleverly crafted one line openers.

The button I wear all the time is bright red and has one word on emblazoned upon it…..


I thought of this one day when I was accidentally wearing one of the stickers that I give out to the children after my kid shows that also says “Magician” printed on them. Upon arriving to my next show I realized that everyone knew who I was even before I introduced myself. The kids starting yelling, “The magician is here, the magician is here”! That started me thinking, so I then went down to my local magic supply house where they also made custom buttons. I had a few made that said “Magician” on them, and started wearing them to all of my shows. The difference was startling! All of my approaches were so easy. When I did roving shows, people would come to me to ask for a trick! A magicians dream come true!

The real test came when I started working trade shows with them. There was very little sales person phobia when I wore the buttons and made my job there a lot easier as well. And all it took was a few dollars to make a few buttons.

However, I must leave you with one caveat. You will hear TWO pseudo-joke lines over, and over, and over, and over again from layman who think they are funny.

  1. Gee, you must be the magician, I can read. ha, ha.
  2. Gee, I know your name, it’s magician right? ha, ha. To which I say, yes, in your case, my name “is” magician, ha, ha.


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 1997,1998,1999 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 and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.