OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST LESSON ARCHIVE
I LOVE THIS! Not only is this a great trick, but it is especially beneficial to our students overseas who have little access to magical props. All you have to do is print these cards out, stick them to computer discs and you are ready to go! Thanks Mike for an OUTSTANDING trick!…BJG
Fastest Brain on Earth
You hand out 4 computer disks and explain that you can calculate faster than a computer. Ask your “computer operator” to think of a number from 1 to 15. If that number appears on the disk they are to put it into the “disk drive” (your handheld palm up to accept disks). They must insert the disks right side up (so you can read the numbers). After all, disks go into the computer only one way. Immediately after they finish inserting the last disk, you tell them the number they were thinking of!
Simply add the red numbers in the upper left corner of each disk they give you. That’s the thought-of number. FAST—FAST—FAST! Enjoy!
© 1999 Michael W. Fordice, PhD
Manufacturing rights reserved.
Editors Note: Unfortunately due to the passage of time and changing technology, the picture files needed to perform this effect got corrupted and lost. Since Mike as since passed, we are no longer able to replace them.
” Kickin the Can “
( Expanded version )
Ronald J. Dayton
One definite advantage of having lived as long as I have is that you get to see a lot of things come and go. Modern technology offers us opportunities which are literally mind-boggling… and the future holds the promise of very nearly anything we dare to dream.
My childhood was that of modest, middle income means. We never had a lot of things… but the things we had were valued. Then too, we didn’t live in poverty…so that and our health was a lot to be thankful for. The kids on the block were rich in another sense. They had that rare gift…the ability to be inventive…to devise ways to entertain themselves when games purchased in the stores were not to be had. Warm summer evenings were spent playing hide and seek and kick the can.
Why am I relating all of this to you? I have done so as a ’roundabout way to eventually get to them of this month’s topic. Whenever I brainstorm an effect or prop…I usually say I am ‘kicking’ around a few ideas. This month, I have chosen to take a look at something called The Pea Can. So in a way, you might say that I am going to mentally ‘ kick the can ‘. <G> The basic effect of the Pea Can is more than a little risque. At best, it is a little cute, and a little naughty too. It was very popular in the 1950s. We had just won the respect of the free world by defeating our enemies in World War II, and civilians and service personnel as well looked forward to building new lives in the prosperity we now had. It was an era when novelties and practical jokes were all the rage. The Pea Can be very much at home in this environment.
The Pea Can is a novelty more than a trick. There is a transformation involved…but the real thrust of the prop is more of a prank than a mystery. It is, to say the least, a strange combination of emotions. What is most amazing to me is the fact that although the apparatus cost very little, the quality of the components was first class.
The short version of the explanation is this. A small, tubular-shaped can is displayed. It was if memory serves…about three-quarters of an inch in diameter, and about two inches tall. The can be closed at one end, and open at the other.
A person was asked to hold out their outstretched hand. The can, being marked with a small label…similar to that of a can of peas in a grocery store, was inverted, and a tiny green rubber pea poured into the waiting palm. The pea was then casually dropped back into the can. You then state that by magic, you will cause the pea to change. A bit of a gesture over the can…and when its contents were again dumped out…the spectator was shocked to find a small puddle of liquid had been poured into their hand. After a moment…it registered what the ‘pea’ had been changed to…bringing laughs all around from those who were watching.
As I mentioned in a previous paragraph…the component parts of the Pea Can be exceptionally well made. The prop, in reality, consisted of two metal tube-like cans. The outer one which was always visible, and an inner one which was about one third the length of the larger tube. The mouth of the larger tube was straight, the opening of the hidden tube had been turned down just a bit. When the inner tube was within the outer…the the top edge was seamless and didn’t betray a thing.
The secret to the effect of course was to have placed a measured amount of liquid into the larger tube prior to presenting it. The inner tube was then pushed into place, forming a snug seal. The rubber pea was then dropped into the top opening, and you were all set to perform.
During the display of the Pea Can after the rubber pea had been replaced…the fingertip of the right-hand second finger entered the can briefly, and stole the smaller tube away…wearing it like a false fingertip. Under misdirection of the liquid reveal…it was an easy matter to ditch the smaller tube. The Pea Can be then able to be examined without fear of discovering the trickery involved.
Students of I.C.O.M will no doubt be able to devise different handlings for the Pea Can. Perhaps you would like to present it as a Portable Orchard type effect. A seed rather than a rubber pea is dumped from the can. An orange seed or even several apple seeds might be used. The seed(s) are returned to the can, and then by magic…changed into the juice of the fruit the seeds had come from. The liquid of course is poured into a shot glass held by the spectator…not into their hand.
A length of string which had been snipped into multiple short pieces could be tucked into the can, and transformed into a restored length. Silver glitter poured into the can might well be transformed into a stack of miniature coins. All one needs do is to begin thinking in terms of objects which will fit into the chambers of the can to enable themselves to better create new uses for the Pea Can.
A thought which came to mind this week is to actually drop a green rubber pea into the can. The surprise comes when a Pecan nut is dumped out of the container instead of the liquid they might suspect. Pea Can, Pecan…alright, it’s an obvious play on words… <G> I couldn’t resist.
As I began considering the Pea Can as a subject…I also began to wonder what other props in magic use a variation of this basic nesting container method. Some of the things I am about to list may surprise you. In some instances…I may be completely off base. I leave it to you to make that call / find connections of your own.
I think an important factor to include in your examination of relationships of apparatus is the secret container itself. Is it something which is initially inside the outer container? Is it fully removed, or only partially? Is it in a remote position from the visible container…then secretly introduced inside as a loaded chamber? Is the hidden tube disguised as something else…and in full view at the onset? In other words, is it used as a fake and is then used as an inner tube!?
One piece of apparatus which I believe is closely related to the Pea Can is the Flag Tube. This prop is precision machined. It has an outer tube which is closed at one end…a hidden inner tube…and a secret on the cap. The cap is eventually used to steal away the inner tube, allowing a number of silks to be transformed into a flag.
As an example of a piece of equipment that falls into the remote container category…we might well consider the gimmick for the Drum Head Tube. This too is a precision fit. it is a smaller inner tube-like container of sorts that is secretly introduced into the outer tube as a production source. The outer tube is open at both ends..but during the routine, sheets of tissue are affixed with metal bands, transforming it into a tube closed at both ends! Two other pieces of apparatus in which a remote container is introduced are the Dove Pan, and the Coffee Vase.
Examples of tube-like containers in which the secret inner tube is partially removed are the Bill Tube, and the Devil’s Coin Box. One allows an object to be secretly added to the outer container…the The other allows an object to be removed.
I mentioned too that there are pieces of equipment in which the inner tube is at first displayed openly as a fake…remote from the outer tube. I would name the Chinese Fire Cracker effect, Candle to Salt, Nickles to Dimes Tube, and possibly even the Stack of Quarters as candidates that apply.
It is interesting, I think, to look at the similarities and the differences in the examples given. Some may be a bit of a stretch…but not a long one. There are definite connections, and I think the inventors devised their creations based on association. They took a known principle and did a spin on it. I believe that if you do the same…you will be able to create new effects of your very own. After all…if magic stopped dead in its tracks with the ‘first’ of anything…and no one sought to improve upon it…the scope of our art would be very limited indeed.
Co-Directors Notes: You did it again Ron, Awesome!…BJG
Keep Your Eyes Open When
A Magical Effect
The magician announces that he is about to do a card trick that is so spectacular that it requires it’s own stage. He then produces a polished maple board (5.5 x 3.5 inches) and places it on the close-up mat. He then places the deck of cards on the stage (see photo #1). The deck is shuffled, a random card is selected, and returned to the deck. The magician shows that the selected card is not on the top or bottom of the deck. The deck is returned to the stage. He then announces that simply by slapping the deck, he will cause the selected card to appear on the face of the deck having already shown that the selected is not there. With the deck on the stage, the performer slaps the deck hard and dramatically. Picking up the deck shows that the selected card is NOT on the face as promised. The performer hands the deck to the spectator who selected the card and asks him/her to find the card. The card is missing; in fact, there are only 51 cards remaining. The performed, who has not been a happy camper for the past few seconds, turns the board over and shows that the selected card appears painted onto the board!
The title of this effect has little to do with the effect. The real lesson is that magic is all around you. I found the boards (small cutting boards) at a flea market years ago. There were 2 of them in perfect condition. They had the Ace of Clubs and the Ace of Diamonds painted on one side. This effect is reminiscent of Schulein’s card through the tablecloth and was certainly inspired by that. (For the record, I’ve seen Charlie Schulein [recently passed] perform that effect at their restaurant in Chicago.) Great effect, laymen go wild.
Now I realize that you’re not all going to have these cool boards that I have. So what. Keep your eyes open! Create your own. Use something else. A book, a tablet, a slate, etc.
Here’s the basic routine from the card handler¹s point of view.
1. Force the Ace of Clubs (or Diamonds).
2. When the card is returned to the deck, control to top, palm off, and lap. This leaves 51 cards in the deck.
3. Show top and bottom few cards of the deck. Return deck to stage.
4. Slap the deck. Or you can have the spectator slap the deck. Or do some psychic thing.
5. Announce that the card is now on the face of the deck. Show! Not there! Act disappointed. Hand the deck to the spectator and ask him/her to find the selected card. Not there. Only 51 cards.
6. Turn over the board and show that the card not only went through the deck, but also painted itself onto the board.
Ok, Ok, Just “one more” object through table effect! But what an addition it is! A version of shaker through table unlike any other! You’ll love this…BJG
“IVORY AND EBONY”
Shaker Through Table With A Spicy Twist.
Ronald J. Dayton
Audiences and magicians alike enjoy effects which are variations on classics or themes they have already seen. The ‘twist’ is what creates the interest.., and if it is seen that the plot is beginning to shift from the norm, their interest is held even more intensely.
This variation will take a bit of work.. .but the performer willing to put some time and effort, and even additional thought into its development, will have a wonderful effect.
You will need the following materials: One clear glass salt shaker filled with salt, and an identical shaker filled with pepper; several sturdy paper napkins, a felt tip marking pen, some magician’s wax, some additional salt…and one of those small bean bag ashtrays which are weighted to sit on the arm of a chair without falling off.
EFFECT: Performer displays a salt shaker full of salt, a small stack of paper napkins, and a marking pen upon his table. He asks for the loan of a quarter. The person offering the same is asked to mark the coin with the marker on either side as he sees fit. The pen is returned to your inside jacket pocket, and the magic may begin.
The coin is turned marked side down upon your table. It is then covered by setting the salt shaker on top of it. The shaker is then in turn covered by forming one of the paper napkins over and around it as in the standard shaker through table handling seen in recent I.C.O.M lessons particularly “Almost Anything Through Table” by Bobby J. Gallo.
You talk for a while about the possibilities of causing a solid object to vanish without a trace.. .as if by magic! You tell your audience that, without touching it, you will attempt to cause the coin which was just marked and placed on the center of the table to vanish completely. Make a gesture toward the covered shaker, and lift it from where the coin was. To ‘their surprise, the coin is still there! Absolutely NOTHING has happened!
Once again, you set the covered shaker over the coin, and again, you make the mystical gesture. The covered shaker is lifted. The coin is gone. Your left-hand reaches under the table, and when it comes back to the top of the table, it is seen to be clutching a fist full of salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker.. .and it is now seen to be filled with pepper! The pepper shaker is set to one side, and the salt in the left hand is transferred to the right. As you very slowly and deliberately sift through the salt…you eventually discover a coin within the grains. It is cleaned off a bit, and then shown to be the marked and borrowed coin!
METHOD: This entire set-up is not that far removed from the standard in which the coin is used as a ploy to secretly hold their attention as the hand with the covered shaker moves to the rear edge of the table and laps same. The differences here are the penetration and switch of salt for pepper, and the actual vanish of the coin and eventual discovery within the penetrated fist-full of salt.
To prepare, all properties mentioned as being on the table earlier are in place. In addition, the weighted bean-bag ash try has been filled with a quantity of salt and is resting on your right leg, near the knee. The pepper shaker is in your lap. A bit of magicians wax has been applied to the bottom of this shaker.
The coin is borrowed and marked, covered with the salt shaker, and the salt shaker in turn covered with the paper napkin…forming the same to assume and hold the shape of the shaker. On the first lift of the salt shaker, it is carried back toward the rear edge of the table, and lapped. The left hand has previously gotten hold of the pepper shaker and loads this back up under the napkin, similar to the way in which a load is introduced up into the cups during a cups and balls routine.
This newly covered pepper shaker with the waxed bottom is now set down on top of the borrowed coin. Of course, with the second lift of the covered shaker, the coin appears to have vanished. In a knowing manner, you reach under the table with your left hand, grasping the ash-tray, and dumping a quantity of salt into your left hand. The ashtray is held by the first finger and thumb of the hand during this action, allowing the remaining fingers to close around as large a quantity of salt as possible. On the return, the ash-tray is also lapped.
The left hand comes to the top of the table and opens a bit to reveal the salt. The right hand uncovers the shaker and reveals the pepper. As the shaker is picked up near the bottom to more fully display the contents, the second finger curls in under the bottom and steals the coin away into the right hand. The shaker is set aside, and the salt from the left hand is poured or dumped into the right. All that remains is the final reveal of the actually marked coin. Under the pretense of cleaning some of the salt from the coin, the excess wax is also removed.
This is a powerful and unexpected series of events. The public domain shaker through the table has been elevated to something they had not yet seen before. With the right timing and proper misdirection… this may well be the effect they talk about most after your close-up performance.
Isn’t that a goal worth working towards!?
This is a real lesson in magic using one of my all time favorite subjects in magic…thimble work…BJG
” Son Of Thimble “
Ronald J. Dayton
Lesson # 47, pp. 73 of Vol. 4 of the ” Tarbell Course In Magic “…compiled and bound in hardcover by Louis Tannen, deals with a specialized branch of magic once known as Thumb-mography… thimble work. For the longest time, I wondered why they ever created such a term. Years later…it dawned on me that the probable reason was that the thumb palm played such an important role in thimble manipulation. That explanation may or may not be accurate…but it makes a lot of sense to me. If anyone knows the answer for sure, please feel free to write.
Thimble work had a definite hey-day…a time when it’s popularity peaked. Now, for years, you seldom see anyone performing it. What a golden opportunity to the newcomer to magic to begin a renaissance of the art!
I have noted, with more than casual interest, that ads for new age thimbles have begun to appear. Taking advantage of microelectronics…these new thimbles light up…quite literally. I do not own a set, but I can well imagine the high degree of visibility and interest they would generate in a properly lit setting.
The Tarbell Course hits many of the highlights of thimble work…and explains all the basics. Some very creative thinking was involved in the development of many of the effects outlined in the text. I think it is a marvelous place to start for any person seriously considering thimble work. Even legendary manipulators of the past, such as Cardini, used thimbles in their routines. The ones Mr. Pitchford used were encrusted with rhinestones to add both glitz and visibility. But be they metal, wood or plastic…thimbles are a viable part of the realm of
Thimbles can of course be modified and gimmicked as most any other prop can be. They can be very specialized…or common, off the store shelf variety. Aside from thimbles that were created for a specific effect or handling capability…the vast majority of the ‘magic’ of the art relies on subtle sleights and misdirection. For the most part, you could say, thimble work is the sort of thing the purists and finger-flingers love.
In the past, thimble fakes have been made from silver foil paper to facilitate barehanded vanishes, drilled and threaded for visible jumping and stacking at fingertips, gimmicked with hooks and elastic line for vanishes…provided with special holders and droppers. Jumbo thimbles were created for the finale’ to certain routines. Special moves and steals were created to facilitate the work. Thimbles not only appeared and disappeared at will…they also grew, changed color, and even penetrated through a borrowed handkerchief. One very creative use for thimbles which I am certain will appeal to several of you, was too routine the manipulations into a complete Miser’s Dream effect. This is explained in the Tarbell book as well.
Here is what is believed to be an original sleight employing a thimble. The thimble is on the tip of the left-hand first finger. The finger is poked into the right-hand fist at the thumb side. The left first finger enters the fist… The left thumb goes under the right thumb…and is hidden from view below the right hand. The extended left second, third and fourth fingers rest above the curled right-hand fingers.
At the moment the left first finger is pulled from within the loose right-hand fist, the left-hand fingers pivot upward, and point toward the ceiling for just an instant…as if showing the hand is empty. In that brief moment, the left thumb enters the thimble from below through the opening provided by the loosely formed right fist. The left fingers now pivot back down toward the back of the right hand and make a gentle rubbing motion. This is when the left thumb bends in toward the left palm…concealing the presence of the thimble it has stolen.
The left-hand pull away just a bit as the right-hand fist turns palm side up…then slowly opens\ to reveal the thimble has vanished. The left hand then approaches…thumb going below the back of the open right hand, extended fingers brushing and caressing across the center of the right palm, and slowly moving toward the right fingertips. When the left first finger reaches the fleshy base of the right fingers during this stroking motion…the right-hand turns palm down…the right thumb grips the thimble on the left thumb and pulls is free as the left-hand moves back toward the left and away from the right hand. Left-hand turns palm up as it leaves the right…showing without actually stating it, that it too is empty. Thimble in the right hand is manipulated and turned so the right first finger may bend and enter the thimble opening. Looking upward and to your left…the right-hand swings upward and catches the elusive thimble at the fingertip.
There have been many, many thimble sleights developed over the years. Based on that fact, I cannot say with certainty that the sleight outlined above is absolutely original. If it isn’t, at least is makes for a reference point in understanding some of the ploys used in thimble manipulation. It might also make an interesting steal for a false fingertip in certain instances. Something to think about.
Also, take some time to consider thimble-like objects you might use when an actual thimble is not available to you. Performers must often ‘think on their feet’…replacing one thing for another when requested to ‘ do a trick for us ‘, at very short notice.
Thimble like caps could easily be covered with bandages, creating the illusion of an injury moving from digit to digit. Caps from certain felt tip pens could be used in place of a thimble. Toy stores sell items called ‘ finger puppets ‘…these too would make interesting replacements for the standard thimble. The characters of the puppets could interact, and help you weave a tale quite different from the norm.
If this sort of manipulation appeals to you…then please do not hesitate to actively seek sources of information from dealers, collectors, and older members of the magic community. There really is a wealth of information out there if you have the desire to look for it. Thimble work is so old…it will seem new to generations of today. With a little effort…you could be on the ground floor of something really refreshing.
This may seem like a shameless product plug, but in our online magic catalog, we sell some excellent manipulation thimbles under the title, FOUR THIMBLES, they work well and are very inexpensive…….BJG
Hey! Whats with the new banner??? Trust me, its all good news. With the growth of I.C.O.M, we have had a number of people send in fantastic submissions. Well, after the membership rate decrease a few months back, we made it it a policy to have only “One” item per month, per forum. Well, we have now decided to make certain months, DOUBLE FEATURE months is various forums. Consider it a BONUS from us to you…BJG
Gimmicked Card Month!
” Improved Diagonal Move “
This photo helps to show the construction of the gimmicked card.
Over ten years ago, I created an effect called Diagonal Move. It was an effect in which you displayed a playing card front and back, then used your first and second fingers to magically punch a genuine hole in one corner. Using the first finger of the hand at the hole end, the hole was magically pushed or moved to the opposite diagonal corner of the card.
What I am about to describe to you is an improved version of the original. If you are serious, and you can read ( which you obviously can )…by following the instructions I am about to give, you can provide yourself with a ten dollar trick, for pennies.
THE THINGS YOU NEED:
One picture or court card, king, queen, or jack. One indifferent card with matching back design optional. An X-acto or craft knife, glue stick, hole punch, and some patience.
On a cutting surface, place the court card face up. Note that the card is framed by a thin black or blue line around the image of the figure ( King, queen, or jack ). With the short end nearest you, take the x-acto knife and make the following cuts along the black framing line.
Begin at the upper left-hand short end corner of the card, right near the index for the card value, and make a cut straight along with the frame to the opposite corner, then down the frame for half the length of the card. Make sure the cut is clean and all the way through the card., then turn the card end for end, still face up, and repeat the same cut at the new end and side.
Take the glue stick and apply glue to the back of the card, around or near the outer edge, about a quarter of an inch wide, and not extending into the image or framework of the card. Now place the indifferent card face to back with the cut card, align and press together so the two cards appear as one.
Now take the hole punch ( after cards are firmly glued together ) and insert the thinner or bottom jaw under one of the corner flaps created in the court card. That is, the punch goes in between the court flap and the solid indifferent card back. Push it in about half an inch, then punch a hole in the solid back card, save the punch out button. Do the same to the opposite diagonal corner flap. Lastly, take each of the buttons to punch outs, apply some glue to the front sides, position, and press the buttons into the punch out holes you have created.
Properly done, the card will look ungimmicked and normal at a glance once all is dry, from front or back.
With flaps pressed shut, the card may be casually shown front and back. Now, hold the back up card at the left diagonal corner, the short end nearest audience…thumb covering button at this end. Right diagonal corner nearest you is now clipped between right hand first and second fingers. With a slight levering upward, the flap at this end is opened wide enough to slip the right-hand second finger between the two segments of the card. Right-hand first finger then swings to the right and allows the flesh of the second finger to be seen through the hole.
Right-hand thumb now covers the visible hole as right-hand second finger extracts itself and allows the flap to close again. Thumb then seems to slide the hold across the back of the card to the opposite diagonal corner, left hand releasing its hold as the right-hand thumb approaches, right-hand fingers beneath the card. The left hand now moves to the end nearest you and thumb cover button opening at that end.
The left hand now swings its end of the card to the left, full around so the hand positions are now as they were at the start. Left hand holding the card at frond left corner, right hand holding it at rear right corner. Right thumb covers button at its end, then right-hand second finger secretly slips into the right rear flap, creating a hole. Right thumb lifts and moves to the right to reveal the same.
Right thumb again covers the hole, right second finger extracts itself from the flap, and card may now be shown solid, front, and back once again.
I hand made hundreds of these in the late ’70s, early ’80s and sold them via Louis Tannens Inc. Since this is now being sold via another dealer, and not under my auspices, I sincerely hope you will make your own, and put it through its paces.
Special thanks to Brad Wiley for this excellent submission, It’s a real winner!
(Good Luck with the magic club!)
c. by Colin Wayne and Brad
A blue-backed deck is fanned and is shown front and back. A card is freely selected by the spectator and is placed face up between two face-down cards. The selected card then magically and visibly “melts” through one of the cards and ends up on the bottom of the two red-backed cards. The spectator’s card is then turned over to reveal that it’s back has changed colors, it is now a red-backed card!
METHOD & SECRET:
You will notice that the deck comprises of 26 blue-backed cards and 26 red-backed cards. The FACES of the blue-backed cards are roughed and the BACKS of the red-backed cards are roughed. With the roughed sides paired together, fanning or overhand shuffling will NOT reveal the secret of this set-up. Also needed for this effect are two red-backed cards, one of which has a slit 4/5 of the way through it from it’s long edge.
Show the two red backed cards freely, front and back, hiding the slit with your thumb and first finger. Now place these two cards on the table to one side, allowing the ungaffed card to cover the
back of the card with the slit, (face down)
Take out the blue-backed deck of cards from their box. Give them an overhand shuffle or two. Fan them, showing both sides. With the deck, FACE UP ask the spectator to TOUCH any one of the 52 cards, and if she is happy with it, cut the deck so that the chosen card is now FACE UP on top of the deck Remove the TOP CARD ONLY (it is actually a red backer) and place it on the table FACE UP-do not show the back at this time. Now return the rest of the pack to the box, saying the rest of the cards are no longer needed. (optional) Pick up the FACE-UP card and place it between the two FACE DOWN cards on the table, making sure to get it into position ‘between’ the slit. Draw attention to the fact that the card is now sandwiched between the two FACE DOWN red-backed cards.
With the thumb on the top card, rotate it quickly so that it is now positioned horizontally and covering the ends of the other two cards. Push the horizontal card up, or away from you slowly. As you do this, the spectator will see the middle card “melt” through to the bottom.
Say that because the heat generated by the rubbing of the cards has caused it tp actually melt through, but the heat has also caused something else ‘strange’ to happen… The ink on the blue-backed card has changed and taken on the color of the two red-backed cards. At this point, turn the specs card over to reveal the back has magically changed from blue to red!