Final thoughts on a controversial magic ICON

I have always had a love/hate relationship with this man. I loved him because he was an ICON in the magic world. I myself once owned several books, penned by his hand. For that reason alone I will always have a measure of respect and admiration for him.

Then there was the other side of Randi. The militant skeptic and atheist who made it his life’s work to attempt to debunk anything paranormal or spiritual. And gained a huge secular fan base in the process. Randi was a smart man, especially in the marketing department. He took materialism, nihilism, and atheism, to a whole new level. His theory was, if you could duplicate a paranormal event using a magic trick, then the event in question was automatically debunked. Which was ridiculous on its face. Using that logic, one could say that all of reality is an illusion because Steven Spielberg can duplicate it with camera tricks. Instead of using stock arguments to debunk things that he could not understand, he could have taken the opportunity to “really” examine the evidence presented to him with the open mind he claimed to have. But that would have cost him his secular fan base, and thus was never going to happen. Being a militant atheist, anything paranormal or spiritual was forbidden in his circles. Something to be shunned, mocked, and ridiculed. Which is one reason I have proudly considered myself on more than one occasion as the “Anti-Randi” of the magic world.

Though he branded himself a “paranormal expert”, he was anything but. His foundation which was funded by largely unknown benefactors offered a one million dollar reward for proof of the supernatural. This offer turned out to be a sham as safeguards were put in place so that the money never had to be paid out. Rumor also had it that he spent the money long ago on what I would imagine were living expenses, since as he advanced in age, his performing days were far and few between.

But the past is the past, and now a true legend is now gone. I am 100% sure that he is now aware that death is not the end he thought it was going to be.

We at ICOM extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

Secret Passageway 1/00-6/00


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 periodic “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.

artwork copyright 2000 Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

Ronald J. Dayton 23-93

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


May 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #3
Ronald J. Dayton

(Final Story)

We are taking one last look at the Yursky frarm, the plot of land , rolling hills and assorted buildings they called home. Certainly after all we have learned, there can be few if any secrets left to be uncovered. We know of two people for sure who have died here. Could there be more? Death seems such a morbid thing to think about., but in the long run, it is the one thing we frail mortal beings cannot avoid. Basically, a long life is one in which we are old enough to realize God has given us a gift. If you have never come to that realization, you either died young, or lived out your years as a fool.Our family has had it’s share of sorrow in years gone by. My grand mother, Laura Dayton was said to have had twenty-one children, as astonishing as that may sound…But potential joy was tainted with tragedy. Less than half survived, being taken either by complications, or as an early age from childhood diseases.

There was no money for a fancy funeral , So what was to be done? In a poor home the deceased was usually undressed, placed upon a table large enough to hold them, then bathed and dressed for viewing by friends and neighbors. Survivors would dig the grave or graves at a chosen site right there on the homestead. Morners would place whatever makeshift casket was used into the grave. last goodbyes and prayers were said, then the graves were closed. The same was true generations ago at the Yursky farm. Over the years the mounds settled and grass and weeds concealed the site of eternal sleep. The markers crumbled and became rich humas with the fallen leaves of passing seasons.

A cousin of mine named Tilly, had heard murmored stories that there were graves somewhere along the grassy hill that ran beside the house. Being the sort of person who simply has to know if something is true or not, Tilly got a shovel, picked out a spot and began to dig. One shovel full two shovels full until suddenly there was the chilling sound of metal against wood! Tilly screamed and threw the shovel aside as she ran to the house, never venturing to the site she had unearthed.

CONCLUSION; It is now time to bring this trilogy of ghostly stories to an end. Slide the paper covered tray from the parakeet cage you had used in the Doodles Demise effect, The papers are actually made from two sheets of news print glued together with rubber cement forming an envelope into which you place the following items, a small metal cross, one or two glass marbles,a small well rusted pocket knife, some metal jacks ( also aged ) and a one inch wide length of black velvet ribbon to simulate a teething band. A metal pail is introduced which you claim to be soil from the actual burial site.

A spectator is asked to sprinkle several hand fulls of the dirt onto the paper in the cage tray. Looking at the dirt you say, “I have wondered for years, if a child dies, will their spirit continue to mature to adult-hood? As you say this, you pick the paper up at each end and slowly pour the dirt into the tray. ” If indeed they do, perhaps they would give us a sign, and return for things such as these! Sift slowly through the dirt, and reveal item after item. Drop each item one as a time as they are discovered on to a glass dish held by your assistant, offer them for examination if you wish.

April 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #2
Ronald J. Dayton


There are family secrets, skeletons in the closet which are best left where they are. This may well be one of them. Doodles, as he was known, was one of Violets brothers, and he would come to visit the farm from time to time and accept temporary room and board in exchange for work he would do. He was, I am told a quiet, introverted and private man. If indeed there {“were” any demons ravaging his mind, he never let on about the torment or depression he might be struggling with. Doodles was a gentle soul who would stand in the kitchen, enjoying snd whistling back to the caged parakeets Violet was also so fond of. That’s why it came as such a shock the day Doodles came in from chores, sat down at the table to a nice dinner Violet had made, then proceeded to excuse himself and go up stairs to his room, Once there, he carefully folded his best suit coat and pants and placed them under the mattress of his bed to press them. From there he went back down stairs and outside, presumably to finish the chores. At some point in the afternoon, Doodles came back to the house, quietly let himself into the basement, sat down near the coal pile. He then calmly sat down and died. No one ever knew why.

Oddly enough, the day Stanley and Violet returned to the farmhouse following the funeral, s Violet entered the kitchen, the parakeet cage crashed to the floor. The eye-hook which held the heavy spring from which the cage had been suspended was still securely screwed into the ceiling but search as she may, Violet could not find the spring. Two seasons later, while doing some house cleaning, and gathering up some of the few personal possessions Doodles left an upstairs closet at the head of the stairs, there hung a jacket of doodles. in the pocket, Violet found the missing spring!

A parakeet cage rests upon your close-up table. About six feet behind your table and to the left stands a wooden coat tree. Prior to the actual presentation, you borrow sports coat from a spectator. You ask that they go through their pockets and remove anything of value or which might be broken. He is given a paper bag to place his belongings into. He is then given the bag to hold, and asked to hang his coat on one of the hooks on the stand. You have secretly slipped a large duplicate spring into his pocket. The spring on the cage upon your table has been spread enough for easy removal. As you come to the conclusion of your story, you pick up the cage and spring in such a way that the cage may be dropped while you retain hold of the spring in your right hand. Under cover of the misdirection of the falling cage, you casually put the spring into your right jacket pocket while you search the floor for the missing spring. Tell the man that we will pretend his jacket is Doodles jacket…and ask his wife to play the part of Violet and have her check the pockets for the surprising conclusion.

March 2000

The Ghost Trilogy
(A Series of Spirit Magic Presentations)
Story #1
Ronald J. Dayton

I would like you to join me now, if you have no objections in a journey which I am tempted to call a journey of mind and spirit. The facts I am about to relate to you are accounts which were told and shared with me by my own friends and relatives over the years. There is no reason for me to think that these tales were fabricated. The people who told them were honest, hard working people who eeked out a living tilling the earth. As with any account which is passed down over the generations, the facts as they happened sometimes take on a life of their own, so the determination of what did or did not really happen will be yours and yours alone to judge after having heard it. Please bear in mind that life on these remote, even desolate rural farms was harsh at best. Families were usually large as a rule, which meant more hands to work the land and do chores…but on the down side, more mouths to feed and sacrifices to make, hardships to endure. This was an era of hand-me-down clothes, when even a pair of shoes were a luxury, and lard bread sandwiches for school lunch were the norm.

The farm as I remember it was a plain two-story wood house approached from the main road by a long, winding dirt road. The house was simple but had a warm “lived in” quality about it. Now that we have taken a moment to look at the settings and times I am recounting…perhaps we should move on. When you think of Wisconsin, the usual imagery is of wholesome throngs of kids and azure sky, streaked by whisps of stratus clouds. But there is another side to the state, a darker side which, thankfully is seldom seen or thought of. A side in which the names of the infamous and disturbed, speak untold volumes. Now understand please that I do not intend to dwell on tales of terror. I mention these horrorific events in our history simply to illustrate that strange and unexplainable things have and do happen from time to time. What I wonder is, what affect do these violent, premature, unnatural deaths have on the spirit of the victims soul? Do restless spirits roam the earth in search of closure?


Decades ago, my aunt and uncle lived in the farm house I mentioned earlier. Violet told this story many times, and swore it was true. Late one cold winter night around 1939, a thick blanket of newly fallen snow covered the ground. The air had a distinct artic bite to it, but the presence of wind was almost non existant My aunt was relaxing at the kitchen table, sipping a cup of coffee. Her husband Stanley had already retired for the evening. Suddenly someone pounded loudly at the back door, It was much more than a simple knock, it was a loud and forceful pounding sound. There was no doubt at all that someone wanted in. Violet was understandably shaken. Stanley, who was in the habit of removing his hearing aid before going to bed, was unmoved and of little help. Violet turned on the back yard light and cautiously looked out the window. No one, nothing was there, and no footprints were in the undisturbed blanket of snow. Violet squinted to see better all the way out to the barn.

With a back drop of faded red, a pale white whisp of a form circled slowly around an old abandoned well down near the stock pens. Several more evenings during that cold and lonely winter the vapor-like form circled slowly around the well…never touching the ground, just seeming to float a foot or so above. The following summer, my relatives risked appearing foolish by asking the local sheriff to investigate the mystery. When the boards which covered the open ground level well,were removed the skeletal remains of what the sheriff assumed to be a vagrant or hobo who had fallen into the well years ago were discovered. He must have been headed toward the barn in the dark.. looking for a place to sleep. Once again, I cannot verify its authenticy, but I am told that this piece of wood was part of that which covered the well, and had fallen inside with the remains. Show a weathered board on both sides (paddle move) Hand it to a spectator and ask…” Do you think it really was?” When the spectator turns the board over.. The words HELP ME are scratched onto it.

Next month story #2 in the presentation.

February 2000

The Ghost Board
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a wonderful illusion that I made up as a fledgling magician. Truth to tell, years ago, I thought it was this very effect that would make my fame. Though I took great care to make the necessary props, I never performed it. “Saving” it for a special occasion that never came.

To this day I still think it had great potential. The original idea came to me by reading a similar effect in the virtually unknown classic “Hermann’s Wizard’s Manual” Yes, I know, that is the second reference to the book this month.

The effect is very straight-forward. A blackboard on an easel is shown to the audience. The magician then draws the image of any humanoid figure he desires with white chalk. A ghost, a skeleton, a monster, or just a plain living breathing person with the piece of chalk. The lights dim, the music starts and all of a sudden the figure comes to life and starts dancing and moving. Yes, you read correctly, the drawing itself comes to life!

This is easier to make than it sounds. All you need is a 3 ft. x 2 ft. piece of sheet paneling that you can get at any hardware or lumber store. On the back side, paint it flat black. Then go into your attic and get any paper halloween decoration that looks like a human figure. These usually cost about $2.00- $4.00 and have joints in the arms and legs that enable you to pose them when hung in the window of your house or on your front door. If you don’t have one you will have to wait until halloween to purchase one.

Paint this figure flat black to match the board. Then thumbtack the head of this to the board making sure you paint this as well. Do not fastnen it to tightly, the whole figure must be able to swing/swivel back and forth on the tack. All must be flat black and invisible on when on stage. Now take a few long lengths of black thread and tie one each to the arm and another to a leg of the painted decoration.

Run these offstage to an assistant in the manner of the “Dancing Handkerchief” found this month in the “Kids Show Konservatory”.

Now take a piece of chalk and outline the decoration with it. To the audience it will seem as though you are merely drawing something on the blackboard. When complete, start the music and the offstage assistant will start to work the threads making the figure come to life! And the end the figure stops and you erase it with a chalk eraser making sure to steady the figure with the free hand so it does not move during the erasure and the secret thus exposed.

This is something you probably have never seen done and would be most novel for any stage show. I have explained it in it’s most basic form. I am sure impovements could be made in it’s construction and method.. Good luck and if you ever use it, I would love to know how it turns out. Better yet, send me a video, I’ll pay for postage!

January 2000

Bobby J. Gallo

This premise came to me while performing over this past holiday season. Upon thinking to myself I realized that there cannot be much of a market for Bizarre magic during what is one of the holiest seasons for so many people since Bizarre magic boasts so much dark imagery. So the following idea will suite any of those who celebrate Christmas as well as those who recognize the Festival of Lights.

Start by using either your spookiest and darkest bizarre effect. One that usually keeps people up at night and (I can’t believe I am saying this next, but hang with me and you’ll see why in a moment) includes the Devil somewhere in the presentation. Actually this is not so much of a task, just read some of Ron Dayton’s (Mr. Fun) presentations in the archives and you’ll be set!

Now remember, this really can only be done near a major religious holiday to have any real effect.

Go through the entire bizarre routine just as you normally would. Build it up as best you can for the usual “Big Scare” at the end, but just before your big climax………..

Have a WHITE FEATHER appear in place of the super scary climax. You then tag this appearance by saying, “I am sorry ladies and gentleman. Perhaps I have been to presumptuous as to assume that we could conduct any occult experiment in so Holy a season. I is apparent that the forces of light are in control here and that the forces of darkness have fled.”Pick up the feather, gaze at it a second and say,” Must be Gabriel, I’d know that feather anywhere!”

There are many ways to achieve the appearance of the feather. The most practical would be to use whatever method you normally use in the bizarre effect to make your otherwise gruesome discovery to appear. A flap-type card box other changing device will suit the situation just fine. Since I do not know what effect you would be inserting the presentation into, It is rather difficult for me to come up with ideas for your particular situation.

In closing you must admit that this would be a great and novel presentation that would really give people positive energy rather than the usual negative energy associated with this branch of magic. A whole different feeling. After all Bizarre really means weird. So does weird always have to be dark? I personally don’t think so. And as far as I know, this is an idea I HAVE NEVER SEEN DONE IN ASSOCIATION WITH BIZARRE MAGIC! So if you know of other bizarrists at your local clubs, this is an premise that will knock them well into this new millennium!

Think about it!



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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999,2000 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 1/00-6/00

Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!


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

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

June 2000

Something Out Of Almost Nothing
Bobby J. Gallo

About 10 Years ago, I came across a small toy that I haven’t seen since my childhood. I’m talking about the little skeleton hand joke, where you have a small set of skeleton arms that you clip to your shirt or jacket pocket. To the onlooker, it seems that a miniature skeleton in crawling from your pocket.

When I was young, these small toys were used in advertisements for magic and novelty catalogs. I can vividly remember the ad showing a picture of the hands saying that they will spook your friends! Watch a creepy skeleton crawl from your pocket! etc. etc. The ads read much like an old-time spook show promotion. The best part of this was that you got a set of these skeleton hands FREE with the purchase of a magic catalog! Well, I couldn’t get my 25 cents in that envelope fast enough (8 weeks later I got them). What they did not tell you was that the skeleton hands were only 2 inches long!

Years later when I saw them again, it was in a magic shop where a gross of them were on sale. Needless to say, I snatched them up because they were the last gross left in the store. I then spent the next year fastening them onto promotional materials that I would hand out at college trade shows. I thought it was a nifty gift to give to potential clients.

When I started to get low on the “tricks?”, I saved the rest of the supply I had and shelved them. After all, I didn’t know when I could get them again. Then, another 9 years later (actually recently), I found them again through a bulk supplier of carnival premiums. I was thrilled! So I purchased a full case which was so big I could barely lift it! I think it is somewhere around 1000 gross!

As far as I can tell, these are the cheapest toys on the planet, costing mere pennies each! Which make them ideal for party give-a-ways for children over three years of age.

The point of all this?

Well, at first glance, these little pieces of plastic are very near worthless, even to the kids getting them. After all, if you don’t show them what they are for, most will not even know what to do with them. But since I had such fond memories of this little trinket, something in me wanted to share this experience with the kids that I perform for. I get sentimental that way <G>.

The magician performs his last trick then addresses the audience.

“Before I leave today, I’d like to ask all you boys and girls a question. How many of you would like to know how some of my magic is done?” (all hands go up!)

“Great!, well, here’s the answer, I get a little help from a very small friend of mine. His name is Boris and he’s my skeleton.” (take a set of the skeleton hands from the inside of your top jacket pocket and clip them to he front proper without exposing the fact that they are just a set of arms and nothing else.)

“See the little skeleton crawling out of my pocket? He won’t come all the way out because he’s really shy. But when I do magic, he crawls all around my coat doing what needs to be done to fool you! He’s a great helper!”

“Now, how many of you here today would like your very own Boris the skeleton?”
(kids go wild!) “Ok, then, but in order to give you your very own, I have to let you in on another little secret.”

At this point, you show them the hands and show them how to clip it onto a shirt and make a story up to show their family and friends.

I have given a lot of premiums away at shows and currently, this is the most popular and the most cost-effective from my standpoint.

If any I.C.O.M members want these for your shows. They are available through I.C.O.M at $4.00 per gross (That’s less than 3 cents each!) plus $3.00 shipping for any amount ordered. So if you are interested it’s best to get several grosses at a time to save on shipping. You can also try your local magic or novelty shop for availabilities, but I’ve seen that they can be hard to find. Whatever you do, get a good amount. Trust me, you’ll go through them and the kids will love it!

May 2000

“On That Rare Occasion”
Bobby J. Gallo

This month I think I’m going to just talk about something that is rather unusual for me. For those who have studied my lessons and more aptly, read “Commando Magic” in the library are well aware of my views concerning the transport of what may seem like several tons of props, tables, and general stage dressing to and from shows as small as the average birthday party. An act that seems so common with many magicians today ranging from amateur to professional.

I thought that I was the one guy who would NEVER bow down to the lemming-like approach of patronizing what are actually very few magic companies that thrive on every magician’s dream to be the next Copperfield. Regardless of the fact that they have no “roadies”, stagehands or the mammoth budget. And unlike the top 1/1000th percent of all working pro’s, the average magician MUST perform more than one show per weekend day in order to make ends meet. Therefore large stage shows are all but out of the question.

But recently, I have had the opportunity to perform on a few more large stages than I have in the past. Though I have been on them many times before, it seems that lately, they are becoming more common, at least for me. And because of this, my beloved “Show-in-a-bag” although effective, sometimes seems to fall as a teeny-tiny bit short when performed on a large stage.

Well, when faced with this problem the question naturally is, “what to do”? Well, in light of this dilemma, I have finally broken down and purchase a few large props to “fill-in-the-void” so to speak, of my show when performed on a large stage.

Now I think that there are a few important points here that I would like to address, and only here in I.C.O.M would I share them. So From a working performers point of view, here are the props that I purchased and the “rare occasions” where I would “or could” perform them.


  • The first was the “one” giant prop that I felt I not only needed but “wanted”. Ever since I was a small fledgling magician, I wanted a “FLASH APPEARANCE”. I think that this is the ultimate illusion. What could possibly be more magical than the magician appearing in a flash to start the show? Answer: NOTHING! The model that I purchased, folds flat, can be done with no assistants and when assembled stands 6 ft, tall! Nice and big and dresses the stage nicely.
  • A HUGE custom made SQUARE CIRCLE-Why? The answer to this comes next month when I talk about classic effects and their value.
  • A Bunny Bucket complete with “LIVE” rabbit!– The bunny bucket (ironically identical to the duck bucket used by the top pro’s seems to be the most reliable and humane prop I have come across for the production of a live rabbit. Besides, my daughter wanted a rabbit <G>.
  • A serious backdrop frame.-While many stages have “runners” that can be closed in to frame the magician, most do not. So for this reason I purchased two DJ light trusses. These are far more sturdy and reliable than just about all the commercially available backdrop frames made for magicians at about half the price. If there is a magician’s backdrop frame that is sturdy and reliable, I haven’t yet seen it and I own most of them.


The rest of the show is the bag show that now is merely dressed up to accommodate the stage. The backdrop, super spectacular appearance and the addition of “one” live animal, allows you to take your normal show and make it into a show that you can charge “FIVE TIMES” as much for. You read correctly.


“On That Rare Occasion” Yes, exactly, this is not an everyday show. I estimate it will take two hours to set up. 30 min. to load-in, unpack, and re-park the car. 15 min to set-up the backdrop frame. 15 min. to set-up the flash appearance. 15 min. to hook up the sound system and cue the music. 30 min for the rest of the show, and 15 min. misc. time. And that is if everything runs smoothly and that almost NEVER happens. In addition, a tech rider has to be sent out before the show to the client with the following specified conditions. EVERY condition must be met or in my case, I would have to eliminate the Flash Appearance”. And yes, according to the contract, I will still get paid for the full show.

  • This show can only be done on a stage. No if’s and’s for but’s, So I ask the client to please be sure that the stage is cleared of all storage boxes and the like. This is not the responsibility of the performer.
  • Electricity must be available near the stage for the sound system.
  • No fluorescent lights. Since the flash appearance uses the black art principle.

So after looking at the above we are back to the question, WHEN TO PERFORM THIS SHOW? Again the answer, “On That Rare Occasion” But, that occasion does indeed come!!!

April 2000

A Novel Kid Show Idea
Bobby J. Gallo

This article rides on the heels of last month’s article and came to me during a magic class I was teaching at a local elementary school in my area. So this is an idea that I have never yet tried but know in my gut that it would work, and work very well!

The trick I was teaching the kids was the famous and ancient “snapper” trick. This is the puzzle type trick we all had as children where you displayed a small plastic tube with a rubber band at one end and a hook at the other end. The object is to hook the plunger on the rubber band by inserting the hook into the tube. Of course, the spectator can never do it because you need to know the secret first. Suffice to say that it is very easy when you know how, but nearly impossible if you don’t. Unless of course, the spectator stumbles onto the method, which happens from time to time.

The following is a “workshop presentation”. Meaning the whole object of the presentation is to ultimately teach them the trick. So the following is how I would present this for a birthday party as well as a magic class situation.

Materials needed:

One deluxe version of the snapper trick.
This is for you the performer. Your version of the trick should be a nicer version of the trick than the one you give the kids. After all, you are the star magician and your props should reflect that. Also, it makes for a more professional presentation to the adults booking the performance and shows that you are not being paid to just play with toys. Which is exactly what the less expensive version of this trick is. This is an important fact that should always be kept in mind when contemplating any prop that you perform with. Does it look like a toy??????????????

The snapper can be found made in brass and wood available from finer magic companies. This trick alone also makes an exceptional walk-around trick for adults as well as children without ever teaching them the secret!

A gross or less of inexpensive snapper tricks (depending on how many shows you do or plan to do): These can be purchased wholesale from magic suppliers at a very reasonable cost. Alternatively, you can strike up a deal with your local magic supplier for bulk purchases. (Listen to Ultimate Magic Rap Volume #1 by Bobby J. Gallo & Bill Wisch for further information). Remember to reflect the cost of these in the price of the show you charge the customer and make it a selling point that each and every child will receive a (FREE?) trick during the course of the show. This is so much better than a balloon animal that will just pop after you leave <G>. And of course, as always, no tricks to children under 3 years of age for reasons that we should all know by now.

Note: For some children’s groups I remove the rubber bands if I feel that they cannot be trusted with them. Then proceed with the presentation stating that there is an “invisible rubber band” inside the tube that they have to find. This actually works just as well. You may or may not wish to do the same. The choice is yours….


I start by stating that before I go ahead and show them the magical secret, I will perform the trick for them first. The reason for this is that it will be the last time “for the rest of their lives” that they will be fooled by this particular trick. A heavy thought indeed, but that is the price of “learning” magic!

I then proceed to perform the snapper trick the way it is explained in the trick instructions and ask the guest of honor to be the first to try and figure it out. I state that I will give each person who wants to try, 30 seconds. No more! At this point, if there are 20 children this takes a minimum of 10 minutes. Naturally, none of them can do it.

Then I hand out the tricks to each person. This takes about five minutes which brings us to 15 minutes of showtime. See where I am going?

After everyone has their trick I give them all 30 more seconds to figure it out. Then I begin to explain the secret. 5 more minutes pass. We are now up to 20 minutes.

I then offer to help any that are having trouble. Those who get it right away can do it for a friend while I am busy. This is another 5 minutes which brings the grand total of performing time of this routine to 25 minutes!!! Talk about pack small…play big!

What astonished me was how entertaining it was to the kids when I gave each and every one of them a turn! This takes an enormous amount of time and the kids would not have it any other way! As a matter of fact, after about five kids trying it, I ask if they are ready to learn it, and without fail, they all say NO! they want to have their turn figuring it out first before you give them all out and let them in on the modus operandi! This is magical heaven! And by getting the kids approval to let the rest have a turn, you cannot be held responsible for apparently “milking the trick” he he……… But if it’s entertaining, who cares anyway?

There are other tricks and puzzles that you can use in place of the snapper trick. Some that come to mind are the classic pyramid puzzle, “T”-puzzle, and others. I’m sure you can even find something that does not require commercially produced props at all. This way you can make as close to 100% percent profit on the show as possible.

March 2000

The “In-Between” Show
Bobby J. Gallo

If it hasn’t happened to you yet, it will.

You are called to do a show for kids, but the problem is, they are 12 to 15 years old.

In the words of a trench-coat clad Carl Malden…

What will you do? … What “will” you do?

You can’t do your normal kid show. “These kids” are older and will think all of your cleverly crafted lines and cute kid tricks are childish (corny) and will then attempt to eat you alive. That’s a problem in my book, what about you?

Answer: Magic? yes! But not kids magic and not adult magic. The way I see it, they are still not ready for the advanced ESP type of effects or long drawn out card routines that we can get away with performing for adults. After all, they still “are” kids. Just a little older than the crowd that kids shows were originally tailored for. So the same magic can be performed, as long as you “gear up” the presentations so that it doesn’t seem like you are talking down to the older kids. That is step #1.

Another Answer: After you perform about 30 minutes of “cool” magic. You can offer to “teach” them how to do a couple of tricks. This solves a whole host of problems that you would normally face. Here is the list.

  • You will immediately get them on your side. The antagonism will vanish because they realize that you will ultimately let them in on the secret.
  • This approach will get the attention of this particular age group unlike the BEST magic trick on the planet. Trust me, I’ve seen it time and time again.
  • It helps in selling a show for this age group to the customer who is paying you.
  • Unlike straight magical performing, this idea is a real time killer. You can often knock off a half-hour with just three tricks with no loss of interest.
  • They will think you are the coolest magician they have ever seen!

But what do you teach them? I would suggest going to the I.C.O.M Easy Magic for Beginner’s section and picking out three tricks. It’s ok, we give you permission to teach “three” tricks from this page. After all, there are certain “LOW LEVEL” secrets that are ok to share with the kids in the interest of sparking the flame of future magicians. And if ever there was a page that could do it, its right here in I.C.O.M!

So go out there where other magicians are terrified to tread, the 12 to 15-year-old age group!

February 2000

The Dancing-Floating Handkerchief
Bobby J. Gallo

It probably the “biggest little trick in magic!” Performed by countless professionals and amateurs alike. Thinking about it, I cannot imagine a better trick for a theatre full of screaming kids. Here we will explain our method. There are actually many methods of doing this. Some are self-contained and may be better suited to solo performers. But since they are marketed effects and this lesson explains a general principle with my own insights and handling, we will teach the latter.

The performer holds a white handkerchief up by the corner, strokes it several times, shakes it, casts a spell over it, etc. when suddenly it comes to life and starts to float, jump, dance, and act as though it were alive. The magician drops it into a bottle where it still dances and then jumps out! The performer commands it to stop and it then falls to the floor motionless. Wow….Cool.

Well, for those who do not know how this is done we will teach the basic method here. You will need five basic things. ALL FIVE! (never said it would be easy!)

  • A Handkerchief (duh!)
  • A Stage-Yep, this can only be done on a stage with curtains and wings, not to mention correct lighting. No fluorescent lighting. This eliminates this trick being performed in a church basement or multi-purpose room.
  • A spool of fine black thread
  • An offstage assistant
  • Licensed music with delivery system (boom box or P.A.)

Sew a small wire hook in the corner of the hanky so that the hook protrudes about 1/8 of an inch above the corner.

Fasten one end of the thread to something solid of one side of the stage, have it travel across the stage to your assistant waiting in the sings on the other side. Have the other end of the thread attached to a small bead so that the assistant has something to hold on to. If this trick is performed later in your act, be sure not to trip or break the thread. Know where it is at all times.

Have the assistant hold the thread about three feet off of the ground. During the presentation, hook the hanky on the thread. Some may even dispense with the hook entirely and merely run the thread through a small knot in one corner of the hanky and have it set up from the start (come to think of it, this is probably how I would do it <G>). The assistant should let the thread drop to the stage at this point. When the music starts, pick up the hooked up hanky and begin the act of bringing it to life. The assistant now takes over and by gyrating the thread offstage, controls the hanky’s movement. You are not limited as to what the hanky can do. You may even want to try a more slow spooky movement rather than the frantic hopping hank that has been seen in the past. This will take a bit of rehearsal. You may even want to videotape your practice sessions to see what the audience will see. I think that this effect, in particular, could benefit from this modern age technology that we did not even have 20 years ago.

Yes, it will take some work. Especially perfecting the movement of the hanky so that it does not look “jerky”, but rather smooth and flowing. But remember, the effort is time well spent. For, in the long run, you will have a feature effect.

Get creative and do all sorts of things like passing a hoop around it, make several hanks float, etc. Just remember to have a dark or busy background and at least 10 feet between you and the first row of the audience. And if someone yells out that you are using a string, remember that they do not see it, they are assuming it. So in response, you can say what I would say…and that is…

“That’s What They All Say!”

January 2000

Licensed Tricks For Kids IV
Bobby J. Gallo

Here we are in the final installment of this mini-series. In the last Millennium (how I love saying that) we evolved a routine that is suitable for virtually any age that is old enough to see the magic in general. So now that we have entertained them with the previous sleights, it falls to use to give them a big finish.

There are a number of tricks that are suitable for all age groups but we must remember to keep it simple. A few have already appeared in I.C.O.M such as my version of “The Sandwiched Card Trick”. Another great trick that is appreciated by kids is the standard “Insurance Policy”. The giant card ending gets a response from even the youngest spectators. But a personal favorite of mine can be found in “Card Manipulations by Jean Hugard, Dover Publications 1973-Page 50. Entitled, The Rising Card (Horowitz Thumb Method). and is available from Barns & Noble for around $5.95. I imagine you can get it at as well.

Of all the excellent material in that book (and there is a lot!), the following trick is what I consider to be one of the “showiest” impromptu feats with a deck of cards. Because it’s currently in print I will not give out the method*, but I will describe the effect.

A card is selected, controlled to the top by “your favorite method”, then after the cards are given a nice “Thumb Fan”, the selected card begins to rise from within the fan, actually travels from one end of the fan to the other where the performers free hand then grabs it and removes it. Truly spectacular and the kids love it. Well worth the $5.95 for the book. And you know what the best thing is? I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANOTHER MAGICIAN DO IT! It seems that it is one of those things everyone who owns the book just seems to glance over without ever really trying. So consider this “buried treasure” an exclusive that only members of I.C.O.M will be performing.

I am sure you will find loads of other card revelations that will work, but at least know that the ones I have presented before you, really do work.

*Despite the title of the trick, the trick is nearly impossible to perform until a certain grip is obtained that is not easily discovered without seeing the illustrations in the book.


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

Spotlight 1/00-6/00


Spotlight 1/00-6/00

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

June 2000

“The Wisch-List”
June 2000
Bill Wisch

Stars Of Magic

Back in 1954, eleven of the top, sleight-of-hand magicians in the world were featured in individual lessons entitled “Stars Of Magic”.

The effects and routines were the “top of the line” and included the very best ever created by these performers. This was the first time anything like this was ever done and it was truly a labor of love by George Starke, the Editor, and George Karger, the photographer. Magic owes these two men, as well as the contributors, a great deal of thanks because there simply was never and has never been, since, a collection of sleight-of-hand effects, routines and sleights that even comes close to this collection. I consider this THE true “magic book” for sleight-of-hand devotees, not only because of the distant lands of imagination one will fly to as they are studying it, but because of the legendary contributors that are literally giving you a private lecture in the highest order of the art.

You feel as if you know these gentlemen after reading their sections. It’s like reading about Mickey Mantle when you’re a kid and having him explain the finer points of hitting, fielding, throwing and catching! And then when you go out on the field and try the tips and ideas you find you’re actually hitting home runs and making circus catches!

I guess you are aware of the fact, by now, that I absolutely love this book. I remember purchasing it in 1971 and bringing it home wondering if I would enjoy it. I had bought and explored other books, some quite good, that were “sort-of” what the doctor ordered (you know how insatiable your magical appetite is when you first really want to get into magic), but after I started flipping through the 165 pages and reading the mini-bios of these legends and then seeing how great the photos were and THEN seeing how it was possible for a rank beginner like me to have the ability to actually acquire a masterpiece and add it to my hungry repertoire (whew!), then I knew I had found THE magic book!

The individual lessons were sold originally as separate lessons. >From what I’ve been told, after the first were sold, the needed capital was then available for the next lessons and so on. They were a huge success in the mid-fifties ( later on it probably wouldn’t have worked because of photocopy machines). Then in 1961 Louis Tannen published them together in the Stars Of Magic book and it is still available from dealers today. How can perfection go out of date?

I strongly believe that if someone spent a lifetime studying and performing exclusively what is contained in this one book, he or she would be one of the top magicians in the world. I know there is Greater Magic, the Tarbell Course, Rice’s Encyclopedia, Slydini’s books and various other works and collections that are superb, but none, in my opinion, have the power and charisma of Stars Of Magic.

I am not going to list the performers and I’m not going to list the tricks. I realized if I did that ( and I had planned to) I would have to go on and on and on about each thing. Bobby would be mad at me because our band-width would be astronomical and no one would want to read the thousands of pages necessary to give these works of art, and master wonder-workers their just recognition and reward.

Just go out and buy it!

And be a Star Of Magic.

May 2000

The Wisch-List
Bill Wisch

Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic

The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic by Martin Gardner is a literal treasure chest of magic!

Whether you are a rank beginner or seasoned professional, I challenge you to read this book for more than fifteen minutes and not find an item that you get excited about doing or working on.

This monumental, hardcover work (reprinted in 1978 by Magic, Inc.) is a reprint of the serialized material found in the original Hugards Magic Monthly, from March 1951 through April 1958. However, many extra ideas and tips are included in this hardcover edition (listed a,b,c, and so on) with a neat column of space on each page for your personal notes and thoughts.

Many effects you’ve seen or heard about (but never knew how they worked) are here and the instructions are comprehensive and effective. Also, the illustrations by Francis J. Rigney are outstanding and efficient in their simplicity.

My copy contains 574 pages and how can I even begin to mention all my favorite items? There are over 160 topics covered, including: Apples, Bottle Caps, Paper Cups, Dominoes, Hands, Marbles, Neckties, Poker Chips, Scissors, Thimbles, Watches and Zippers!

Your lifelong, magical experience will probably be made up of mostly impromptu situations. I strongly urge you to absorb this material and not miss out on this spectrum. Not reading this book would be like being a movie buff and only watching movies that are made in color.

This book definitely belongs on your shelf. I don’t know any magician that would argue with me, even if that shelf contained only a few, choice books.

April 2000

The “Wisch List”
Bill Wisch

“Modern Coin Magic”

This book is one of the true classics of magic. It contains the basics for almost all of coin magic. In other words you wouldn’t have to read any other book and you could still be a top-notch coin magician.

MCM contains everything you need to know concerning concealment, production and alteration of coins. It has outstanding plots and routines and patter suggestions. It gives detailed accounts of some of the most cherished and “pet” tricks and routines of some of the finest “coin-men” in history. It is laid out very well with a fine index. It also has a history of coin magic.

I know that Dover has come out with a softcover version available in any and all major book stores, or online. The price is, believe it or not, under $10, and in my opinion, there is no other book available anywhere with as much value for so little cost. Check it out on Amazon. Read the reviews and see what others say about it.

There is so much here that no matter where you start reading, you’ll find yourself saying, “Hey, I would really like to learn this!”. Even though it is a fascinating read and fun to just glance through and dream over, I contend that if you decide to pick an effect, sleight or routine out of MCM and are determined to make it yours NO MATTER WHAT, you will be rewarded with the true wonder of magical study…RESULTS! Many magic books contain great items but lack good explanation which leads to frustration and lack of fulfillment. MCM has a unique quality about it. I think that is what I like most. It really provides the necessary explanation and instruction to actually teach you…if you let it and stay at it. But you have to want to read and study this book if you want the results. Self-working coin tricks are very rare.

I chose this as my first pick for the “Wisch List” for two reasons. First, it’s my single, most favorite book in magic. My original copy is literally falling apart. Second, it is an excellent book to use with the study-system I gave you last month. Try it!

While lecturing over the years I had the pleasure to meet many of the contributors of MCM. This was like magic in itself for me. One quick story. I was running the booth for Sasco Magic about 10 years ago at the St. Louis, IBM convention. Needless to say, I was demonstrating coin effects, day after day…all day. A number of the true legends of coin magic were at the convention, many of which had effects in the “Bobo Book” (the generic name for MCM). It was a real treat to actually meet them and have them show me the same effects I had read about for years. But the biggest surprise was when Jim Buffaloe, after showing me his phenomenal items, told me that Bobo himself was there and that if I’d like, he’d bring him over to meet me. I could go on and on about the lengthy session that I, along with many other lucky magicians, witnessed that day, but let me say that J.B. Bobo was absolutely no fluke! He could do EVERYTHING in his book to perfection! That was the highlight of the whole convention as far as I was concerned. It was like one of those rare, surreal times we all experience once in a great while. What a trip!

So, you can see why I picked this book to start out the “List”. I guess I could go on and on but let me just mention a few of the items I enjoy the most ( it’s tough because I could say the whole book!).

  • Guess which Hand p134
  • Coin through Ring p171
  • The Bent Penny p186
  • Silver Extraction p187
  • Rattle Box Routine page 207
  • Presto Chango p245
  • Stack of Halves p255
  • Routine #4 p342

You haven’t lived until you’ve curled up with Modern Coin Magic (The “Bobo Book”).

March 2000

“Magic by the Book”
Bill Wisch

Magic CAN be found!

Like my partners Bobby, Ron and Oscar, I have an affinity for any and all magic books…large, small, great and sometimes not so great. I believe there is something to learn from each book ever written, even if it is the knowledge that the book is lousy. It’s a little like Edison. He had to go through over 800 failures before he developed the automobile battery. But he said, “I found out 800 things that I NEEDED to know to have that one thing I HAD to know.” The same holds true for the printed magical page.

This is the beginning of a new series for the Spotlight called “The Wisch List”. I am going to try to list books that have inspired me…intrigued me…become part of me…led me through wonderland.

This list will involve magic books and non-magic books that have a lot of magic, if that makes sense.

I am going to try to add a new addition to the “Wisch List” every month but if I miss a month now and then, please forgive me.
I am confident you will enjoy this feature of I.C.O.M.


Many say that it’s hard to learn from books. This can be true. But why? Why is it so hard? Is it the book’s fault? Maybe. Maybe it’s not written very efficiently of completely enough to instruct properly. But how come many of the effects I’ve learned from books are among the least explained or developed? Go figure.

I did develop a system many years ago when it came to learning from technical books. Maybe it came from having to learn the art of percussion from the printed page since I couldn’t find (or afford) a teacher when I started. This opening introduction to the Wisch List will contain that system. In coming segments I will not only name and discuss magical and non-magical works but go into further detail how I believe effects can be extracted from them like nuggets of gold in a mine perceived to be barren or empty.

Let’s stay basic to start.

First step…choose your book or periodical. Obviously, for whatever reason, the item is already interesting to you or you wouldn’t have it, right? Don’t prejudge it in any way. Consider that effect or routine an entity. Literally make your mind blank.

Second, get comfortable…in silence or with soft music if you like. Pick a chair or position of maximum comfort. Don’t have anything to distract you, at least for the next few minutes or you may miss that incredibly important “spark”.

Third step…read the entire piece from start to finish. Do Not Stop! Read the whole piece, even if you think it’s not for you. You may be surprised. Only after you finish (even if it takes a while) do you close your eyes and make the decision whether this would work for you or not. Try to picture yourself performing what the author just explained. Do you see it? Would it work with minor or even major changes? Do you think it’s “you”?

Fourth…the investigation stage. If the effect excites you then you re-read for investigation. Find out exactly what you will need to use. Then investigate what you will have to do. Can you accomplish what must be done or do you have an alternative method? Do you have all the props needed? Go get them or make them up. Have everything! Don’t assume or imagine.

Fifth step…read the run-through. Become familiar with the handlings and props. Is there anything you can’t figure out? Try again and again. Try different handlings that may fit the description. Be creative.

Are you happy with the effect or routine at this stage?

If so, you start the rehearsal stages.

Read through a least five times. Each time rehearse the effect with the patter and movements necessary. This may sound like over-kill but I have seen far too many performers with “under-kill”. Rehearse a lot of times. Do not show the trick to anyone until you’ve done a whole bunch of rehearsal, and only show the item to one or two close people, preferably non-magicians (bear in mind that it has been proven that wives are only good for watching 458 tricks before burn-out so be careful).

Now read the entire effect or routine for REVIEW.

You’ll know when it’s ready to try it and by all means, go for it.

If it fails, decide if it can be salvaged or if even if you WANT it to be salvaged. You’ll know.

If the item passes all thiese tests….then Voila! Instant magic!!! You now have a new “magical buddy” to spend the rest of your life with.

Who said it’s tough to learn magic from a book?

February 2000

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


Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch have been raising interesting questions for Dr. OM to Contemplate. This installment’s question is concerned with the nature of CHARISMA, that attractive and irresistible personal quality which on the stage is an. electrically charged presence commanding audience interest and attention.

Dr. OM has previously touched upon the subject of charisma in an earlier article in the series which discussed this quality in actors, singers, and magicians. GOOD NEWS–charisma is an innate capacity in everyone, although not always developed in everyone. Understanding the source of charisma is the first step toward releasing the gift and letting the light shine through.

The existentialist philosophers speak of the SELF; the Hindu mystics speak of ATMA, which is the God within the self; western mystics speak in the more familiar term of the SOUL, which is the inner or spirit self. Each of these concepts differs from one another, but, generally speaking, getting in touch with the inner self, by any name, is moving toward the possession of charisma.

CHARISMA might well be thought of as a visible manifestation of the inner self. Examples of well known charismatic performers who have, as a matter of public record, sought after the inner self, and their several and diverse sources of insight, may be of value to encourage the personal pursuit by Dr. OM’s readers. Those who come to mind are The Beatles (study under a guru); Jeff McBride (drumming and meditation); Ronald and Nancy Reagan (astrology); Eugene Burger (eastern mysticism and world mythology); and Shirley McLaine (past life experiences). Dr. OM’s own sources are: The Hindu Bhagavadgita, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Book of Job, Ecclesiastes, The Sermon on the Mount, world mythology, and transcendental mystical poetry of any place and time, to list a few. Reading widely about the quest for selfhood provides helpful insights toward the realization of charisma.

Tapping the resources of the inner self is achievable through MEDITATION. The most simple form of meditation is to concentrate on one’s own breathing while either silently or audibly repeating a MANTRA. Dr. OM’s mantra is the classical OM (~) of the Hindus. Lying prone with the tips of the right-hand thumb and fingers touching those of the left hand in a curled fashion and mentally counting backward from one hundred to zero while concentrating on one’s breathing and beginning the utterance of the mantra upon reaching zero is a helpful technique. The technique may be applied to recalling anything forgotten: a person’s name, a telephone number, or more complex thoughts, by requesting the wider memory of your inner self to remind you of the forgotten item, upon reaching zero in the backward counting; then letting go, not trying to remember consciously. Inevitably your inner self will bring what you have forgotten to the forefront of your conscious mind. When it does, you must thank your inner self; that acknowledgment encourages better and better communication between what the psychologists call the subconscious and the conscious mind, which is important to sense memory in a performer for the purpose of body awareness and placement and to tactile memory in the handling of props and the retention of routines which when on automatic, so to speak, emerges as charisma. Charisma will not emerge in the magician who is concentrating on the mechanics of his art; the mechanics must be subsumed. Concentrate on the inner self through frequent meditation and the inner self will emerge charismatically during the performance, because to touch the inner self is to visibly become the inner self and to be in the aura of the inner self.

Recently the buzz words: “He is comfortable in his own skin,” have become popular in Washington D.C., often referred to by the buzz words: “this town.” Apparently, even the Washingtonians can recognize the real thing of the emergent inner self when they see it. Unfortunately, the words have been applied too liberally to politicians who fake a veneer of a pretended inner self–a pseudo self. When a real self emerges he will be recognized as the charismatic leader so much sought after.

History provides many and varied examples of charismatic presidents. Among many who have faded into dim reca1l, the charismatic are those whom everyone remembers: Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, to name a few of the earlier; more recently: Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Reagan stand out from the crowd. Granted, not everyone liked or agreed with any of the above, but each of the presidents named appealed to a significant number of Americans who regarded them as charismatic. Notice that the attraction often transcended even partisan divisions.

The prescription is simple enough: know thyself; be thyself; act thyself, and your stage persona will not be a mere mask but a believable character who grows out of thyself and will be accepted as the real you by your audience. Look to thyself for the emotions you wish to convey; do it naturally; do not pretend. Acting is not pretending but being.


What a fantasic lesson, and Ron has included one of my all time favorite effects. The Ball & Cone!…BJG

January 2000

“An Idle Mind”
Ronald J. Dayton

An idle mind is like a computer in ‘sleep mode’…it’s saving itself…but I’m not quite sure for what. I find that looking for ways to stimulate the thought process is like weight training for the brain. It keeps you fit and toned. It gives you the stamina to endure times when fatigue might well dull the senses. It fortifies your ability to think clearly during times of stress. It is the saving grace when deadlines are to be met.

What do you say…let’s go to the cerebral gym and work out for a while ! <G>

Many authorities in magic suggest that we look to the past to find guides to the future. I believe this is very sage advice. Like it or not…modern performers are confronted with the fact that many brilliant and ground breaking methods were devised and in use long before our times. It has even been suggested that there is nothing new under the sun. A cliche perhaps…but more truthfully, a statement based in fact.

Much of what we are doing today are adaptations of principles and methods of the past. We have found new ways and materials to give them a fresh look…but in essence, they are ghosts of the past.

That is not to say that I find particular fault with this. History of any kind provides the back- ground and understanding to build on the present. I would like to throw out a few ideas to you this month, and see where you might think they could lead.

Let’s take for example an effect from the twenties and thirties…applications for which appear in the bound volumes of original Thayer Magic. The effect is the Cone and Ball. You might say that it was a spin-off of a cups and balls routine…using only one cup or cover…blended with a non gimmicked concept of the Chop Cup…a piece of apparatus not to be created until several decades later. I hope I am not confusing the issue. But basically, a solid ball is displayed …covered with a cone shaped cover…and using only natural principles…the ball is caused to vanish and reappear at will.

How? The answer is so simple, you may not believe it. The shape of the cone itself causes the ball to wedge fit inside when the ball is dropped into the cone. Lifting the cone, the ball appears to
have vanished. Setting the cone back down on your table with a small amount of force dislodges the ball, and allows it to reappear. That is all there was to it. But the question I am posing to you at this moment is, how do we apply this principle to objects more easily related to by audiences fast approaching a new millennium ?

Time to exercise your mind. Think of what ever objects might make sense as a replacement for the time honored leather cone. Ready? Go! I’ll wait.

Conical shaped? What modern objects are acceptible cone shaped covers for a ball? How modern are we talking in the first place? That is an excellent question. See…the thought process is beginning to pay off already. Just how modern am I talking about.

The answer to this, as with so many things, is ellusive… but for the sake of arguement, let’s assume that the presentation you want to give has a setting in the days of flint locks and blunder-busts guns. The barrel of these early guns were shaped like a funnel…and this in essence is a cone shape. The guns also used ‘shot’…which was molten lead formed into the shape of balls. So imagine that. We have a cone, and a ball, blended into a historically themed routine. A performer who is really on his toes can see all sorts of possibilities for this…not the least of which is a cannon ball production finale’ from beneath your stylized hat.

What other things are cone shaped?? Well, factories of the past which dealt in thread and string would wind the finished product on sturdy cone shaped cardboard forms. I wish I knew the proper term for these spools…but I do not. For all I know, spools may actually be correct. No matter though, because the object we have been searching for has been found once again. We
have our cone. Now, a second consideration. What type of ball would be logical to use with same?

I have a suggestion. We have a spool of thread…but why not say it held yarn instead. The knitting needle becomes our magic wand…and the ball of yarn becomes our spherical shape. Another solution found.

Now…as a last little test for the mind, let’s upgrade the effect to present day. What in the world would we use? What is a cone? I’m thinking….Baskin Robbins. That’s right, an ice cream cone. And the ball is of course, the stylized scoop of ice cream! That was too easy. <G>

For the younger performers out there…you might need a bit of help to put a few of these ideas together…after all, much of this was far before your time. Don’t be afraid to ask older people for suggestions. They might just have an idea or two of their own to share. What I have given you are simply suggestions, examples of how to go about striving to be creative. And before I bid you adieu…I have two more cone/ball combinations to share with you.

Circus theme…a pointed clown’s hat…and a ball decorated to resemble the clown’s head and face*. Second idea…a sports theme. Small basketball, and a megaphone.

Good luck in your search my friends. It may not be easy at first…but the struggle is half the fun, and the power of the mind can move mountains.



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 re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

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.

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