Advanced Lab 7/99-12/99


December 1999

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

Fastest Brain on Earth
Mike Fordice

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

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

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

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

November 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 1999

Keep Your Eyes Open When
A Magical Effect
Mike Fordice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



photo #2

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

September 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Isn’t that a goal worth working towards!?

August 1999

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

” Son Of Thimble “
Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 1999

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

Gimmicked Card Month!

” Improved Diagonal Move “
Ron Dayton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c. by Colin Wayne and Brad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright by Colin Wayne and Brad Wiley 1999


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Beginner’s Study 7/99-12/99


December 1999

“Slippery When Wet” Aces
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

Try this, you will be amazed at the reaction!

November 1999

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

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

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

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

Materials needed:

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

Routine as the audience sees it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 1999

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

” Magic Off The Rack “
Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 1999

“Twisted Again”
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 1999

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

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

Those Bad Ole’ Card Tricks
Bill Wisch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Approach
Bill Wisch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 1999

Little Yellow Squishy Things
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

The Beauty of this presentation lies in it’s simplicity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Secret Passageway 4/99-6/99


This Forum Is Rated PG

Introduction to this forum,

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

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

2nd. quarter 1999

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

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

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

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

Dayton 2-15-93

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

June 1999

Dean Montalbano
Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 1999

(Spirited Slates)
Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1999

Ronald J. Dayton

A Lesson In The Framing of Bizarre Magic Theatre

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

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

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

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

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

Your narrative begins with a serious, almost ominous tone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Co-Director Notes:

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

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

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


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Kid Show Konservatory 4/99-6/99


June 1999

Magical (?) Sticker Printing
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 1999

The Gag Climax
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1999

My Name is Magician
Bobby J. Gallo

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

I.C.O.M Spotlight 4/99-6/99


I.C.O.M Spotlight 4/99-6/99

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 1999

Ladies and gentlemen, I.C.O.M members all! Below is more solid gold magical history that you will find only here in the Interntational Conservatory of Magic!…Thank you Dr. Om!

Dr. OM’S Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Artist Part XV

The Entrance


Billie Dunninger reunited with her beloved husband Joseph, in show business Valhalla, within this year’s past. In her youth, Billie had been a beauty, a showgirl. As a young man, Dr. OM knew her and the great Dunninger when they themselves were of middle age. On the night that the great man, himself, crossed the bar, none other than Al Mann, Dunninger’s good friend and fellow mentalist, stood vigil with Billie at Dunninger’s bedside. Billie and Joseph’s daughters, Josephine and Maxine survive them. They all lived together in their spacious home in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.

One Rainy afternoon in May 1999, Dr. OM felt impelled to drive down to Cliffside Park and take pictures of the grand domicile overlooking the Hudson River and enjoying a magnificent view of the New York Skyline opposite West Side Church. The precious photographs are presented below:

2. Southerly Exposed Frontag

3. Westerly side Yard

4. Easterly Side Yard

5. Extended Easterly Side Yard With Cabana

In Europe, monuments to unaging intellect have stood for thousands of years; In the United States, the Metropolitan Opera House, an acoustical miracle and an historic artifact was torn down to make way for a parking lot. Caruso’s ghost must roam the place at night. Our history is brief, our memory is short, and our reverence for the past is wanting. In this same Cliffside Park, the home of Boaz, the renowned anthropologist, has been whacked-up, as they say, into a rental multi-dwelling. What a sorrow it would be should the home of The Great Dunninger, to whom Milbourne Christopher devoted an entire chapter in THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF MAGIC, be laid waste to make way for an expensive but tasteless contemporary residence with a Manhattan skyline view. Let the bucks stop here.

Dr. OM is not cognizant of the current disposition of this piece of magic history as a piece of real estate, but if there is any philanthropist of magic reading this article, please save and preserve the Dunninger house as a national landmark of magic.



A bead of water clinging to his chin gleaming as a gemstone the squirrel balanced on the birdbath revels in the grace of the everywhere.

Don’t believe it
there is no such thing
as a squirrel proof
bird feeder
impregnable to the acrobatic
of the trees.

a dove
against the leaves
in a
with time.

The sparrow’s swarm
in perfect
a perfect
of air.

A leaf
wends its way
to the ground
which once sustained
a passing
of high place.

lush and green
in spring
the heat of summer and the winter cold.


If you look down a highway or a railroad track, the sides of the road or track seem to come together in the distance. The natural experience of perspective is imitated by the artist as an illusion through foreshortening.

Foreshortening is the painter’s technique for tricking the eye into believing that a two-dimensional painting is three dimensional. Foreshortening and light and dark shading make the two dimensional seem three dimensional. As Herman Melville noted, the artist is a con man.

The Mandala is found in many cultures around the world and is used to aid meditation. if you stare at a Mandala, you will experience the illusion that you are entering into it.

What the eye sees is sent to the brain through tiny electrical currents called nerve impulses. The brain assembles the impulses to form an engram (image) on the mind. The eye is activated by receiving reflections of light from objects, but the eye can be fooled. For instance, if two lines of equal length intersect at their middles, they will be seen to be equal in length, but if the lines intersect at other points than the middle, they will be seen to be of unequal length.

The eyes experience an optical illusion when they change to focus on the object in view causing the pattern to change. The eyes themselves produce the illusion. What the eye expects to see plays a great part in the message sent to the brain. Because of different environmental life experiences, inhabitants of different parts of the world see the same things in different ways. In parts of Africa where houses are built around and pots and other manufactured objects are round the people do not recognize square forms but see them as round because their eyes expect to see them as round. In remote places where motion pictures had not been seen before, the viewers did not recognize pictures but saw only splotches of light and darkness.

Notice how the expression: “Smoke and Mirrors” has moved from stage magic into the parlance of politics. All of human endeavor and inquiry are connected. The magician must use what science has learned about the human senses of sight (vision), hearing (auditory), Touch (tactile), and taste and smell (olfactory), in providing illusions for the audience.

Co-Directors notes:


May 1999

Dr. OM’S Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part XIV


Dr. OM’s earliest recollection of magic and magicians came through the comic strips which every Sunday delivered MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN. To a small boy, there was something fascinating about Mandrake’s power to alter reality; to make things better. Mandrake first made Dr. OM aware of magicians, mindreaders, and hypnotists. Dr. OM will never forget him.

Recently, Dr. OM recommended to his readership the biography of the Canadian Mandrake. Mandrake’s name and Dr. OM’s recollection of early childhood drove him to read the account of the real life Mandrake the Magician. Fortunately so, because there was great value in the book for a grown magician, as there had been great value in the “funny papers,” for a little boy.

Nick’s candy store during the nineteen thirties, contained an odd collection of novelties. The candy store afforded Dr. OM his second experience with magic: a tiny Ball and Vase made , not of plastic, but of red stained wood with a shiny black half ball. The interior of the vase was stained a bright yellow; beautiful to look at; miraculous to work. Dr. OM took it to school with him and performed the effect about the neighborhood, as well. Whenever a little friend was bewildered, if not astounded, by the magical vanishment and reproduction of the ball in the vase, little om felt like Mandrake the Magician, himself.

Not long afterward, Nick had on display a variety of prizes to be won by kids who collected the greatest number of coupons he issued for each purchase made in the candy store. There were baseball bats and mitts, a tin wind-up and moving shooting gallery, leather sacks of marbles, a wooden toy fort, and wonder upon wonder, don’t you know that little om’s collection of coupons won him a Gilbert Magic Set. Opening the box was like walking through the doorway to a new and magical world. Who wanted an old microscope or a telescope or a pair of binoculars, when the brave new world could be viewed through the kaleidoscope of magic.

Appreciating little om’s interest in magic, his father bought him a copy of THE BOY’S BOOK OF MAGIC by Hereward Carrington, Ph.D., published by Dodd, Mead and Company, New York, in 1936. The book bears a 1920 copyright and was printed by The Quinn and Boden Company in Rahway, New Jersey. Pop bought the book from Mr. Avon, at Avon’s Used Book Shop, a few storefronts down from the tailor shop behind which om’s family lived during the depression. There were no television sets, in those days and aside from the radio which had recently ceased being called “The Marconi” the only existing entertainment was to be found in books; beautiful books which exercised a child’s imagination. Little om’s father often had recourse to bartering. In order to pay the butcher’s bill, he would make Mr. Waller a sports jacket or a vested suit, when the bill grew really long. A new pair of pants or mending older clothing frequently paid Mr. Schultz, the milkman, or Pasquale, the grocer. For similar reciprocations, om’s father periodically would bring home an armful of books he carefully selected with Mr. Avon’s assistance, but nothing ever topped The Boy’s Book of Magic.

Dr. OM’s next childhood experience with magic made such an impression upon him that many years after the event the recollection provided a scene in a novel he was working on at the time. The excerpted fictional account probably tells the story best, as follows:

The Method:

Hold up four Jacks, who represent four robbers. Tell your audience that the Jacks have decided to rob a bank, which is represented by the deck. You will place the three robbers into different stories of the bank, leaving the fourth on the roof to play look out, in case the cops should come, but at the end of the trick, they will all appear back together on the roof of the bank.

Before you start, all you need do is place any three cards behind the Jacks before you fan them out to show them. Fan out only the Jacks, and keep the three extra cards hidden behind the Jacks.

Now start your patter. Say, “Here are four robbers all named Jack, who decided to rob a bank. We’ll let the rest of the deck of cards represent the bank.” Place the Jacks, with the three extra cards on top of them, facedown on top of the deck, saying: “All four robbers sneaked onto the roof of the bank.” Then continue: “The first robber entered the bank through a basement window.” Take the top card (which everyone supposes to be a Jack) from the top of the deck and push it into the deck near the bottom. Don’t let anyone see its face. Push it all the way in so that it is lost. Now say, “The second robber went into the main floor of the bank by the front door.” Take the top card from the deck (the second indifferent card) and push it into the deck near the center.

Now say, “The third robber climbed down the back wall from the roof and got into the top floor of the bank through an open window.” Take the top card from the deck and push it into the back of the deck near the top but below the stacked Jacks. Then proceed: “The fourth robber stayed right up here on the roof to act as the lookout.” Pick up the top card and show it to the audience. Of course, the displayed card really is the first of the four Jacks. Replace it face up on top of the three face down Jacks.

Continue your story. “The police come and the lookout shouts, ‘CHICKY THE COPS,’ and what do you know, here are all the four robbers back on the roof.” As you say this, deal off the four Jacks, one at a time, from the top of the deck onto the table; face up so that everybody can see them.

The Spell:

Cappy held up the four knaves between the thumb and fingers of his left hand. Each knave peered resplendently over the velvet cap of the knave below. The low man was placed upon his back among the table crumbs. Collapsing the remaining three, Cappy lay them gently on the deck, Tapping them, he smiled mysteriously and said:

“This is a bank.”

Maria’s large eyes traced an orbit from extended hand to table top. “and these are the thieves.” Space contained three thoughts: Arthur, Cappy, and Maria. The universe is a six foot cube; the room is another story. “The captain of thieves is waiting on the roof,” six eyes danced in three quarter time. The cube was rosy with clossness, “and his henchmen have climbed to the roof of the bank.” Arthur listened in a deathless unbreathing and was warm about his ears and the palms of his hands. Remember the cube root of love. Someday, remembering he would feel the same again and call it nostalgia, but it wasn’t nostalgia, really. How could it be nostalgia in the first times. Later, the memory of first times is the same. Then, we say nostalgia. There are the senses, but there is no taste in the mouth. No man savors life with his mouth. The sixth sense is in the human heart. “The first thief descends to the basement of the bank.” The captain’s eyes are on me. He lies waiting. The crumbs are dying slowly on the table cloth and the wine is deep, dark, and silent in the glass. “The second thief descends to the main floor.” The light plays upon the smiling wine. The crumbs are lonely. “The third thief takes the top floor.” The wine is cylindrically happy. Sometimes the table trembles. The wine is unsure. The crumbs are lost. “Each thief empties a vault.” The crumbs are shaken from the cloth. Only wine’s stain remains, faintly, like shadows of grapes. “The captain calls out: “CHICKY THE COPS.” The wine. The wine, forever. Shape on shape; vessel on vessel. The crumbs feed fishes and armies of loaves. And his three henchmen: one, two, three, jump off the roof of the bank, and they all run away.

“Oh, do it again, please let me see it again,” squealed Maria; but it couldn’t be done again. It was done.

Cappy, in the story, in real life was John Scarne, who was Dr. Om’s father’s friend and customer. Pop, better known as “Harry the tailor,”mended John’s tuxedos and suits, replaced buttons, cuffed pants, and pressed John’s jackets. Occasionaliy, John would sit down at table behind the tailor shop where the family lived and join in a supper or a glass of wine. Later Scarne would join his buddy, Joe Vella, at his boxing gym. Often, with his other little friends om would be amazed by one of Scarne’s pieces of magic right there on the street, in front of Joe Vella’s Gym where Gus Lesnevitch trained and where Joe Louis arrived one afternoon in a chauffeur driven limousine. Those were great days in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, and the great John Scame lived right next door in the southerly adjacent town of Fairview.

The Legendary John Scarne

As a young man, Dr. OM’s later memorable experience came when he was introduced to Joseph Dunninger, The Great Dunninger, and his wife, Billie by Ken Forziati and his family who lived just across the street from the Dunningers’ sprawling manse, at the very end of Grant Avenue, in Cliffside Park. Situated atop the palisades, the Dunninger homestead enjoyed a magnificent view of the Hudson River and the Manhattan Skyline, and an easy commute to” The Big City,” where Dunninger did much of his performing.

Dr. OM remembers being often in the company of Billie Dunninger who would join the Forziati elders for games of pinochle. On several occasions Mr. Dunninger (Young OM always addressed him as Mr. Dunninger), knowing of his involvement in magic, taught him several killer card effects, the best of which is a self-rising mentally selected card effect without gimmicks of any sort, which is still a treasure in Dr. OM’s arsenal.

When, in nineteen sixty-six, Dr. OM and Ken Forziati wrote a musical play titled LIZZY STRADA based upon Aristophanes’ comedy LYSISTRATA. The play was produced at New Jersey City University, where Dr. OM served as Theatre Director. Ken had been the pianist in a swing band in which Dr.OM was guitarist, and the two had been close friends since the age of fourteen when they first met as band members. The combination was a natural and the musical was a huge success. Dunninger and his wife Billie attended the opening night performance. Dunninger’s compliments that night are a treasure in the memory of Dr. OM.

Ken Forziati had been Dr. OM’s best man at Mary and Dr. OM’s wedding, and when Ken and Judy were married, Dr. OM was Ken’s best man. Dunninger and wife Billie with Ken and Judy are pictured below:

The Great Dunninger, wife Billie, and a very happy couple

These are some of the bits and pieces of the beauty the art of magic has brought into the life of one Dr. OM. More recently, serving as the editor for the International Magician’s Society (IMS) and having the opportunity to have a performance and teaching tape (volume forty in the course) published on the subject of Children’s Magic (Bobby J. Gallo’s: Stand Up Close Magic is Volume eighteen), and then to be invited by Bill Wisch and Bobby J. Gallo to write this Treatise on Stagecraft and Showmanship for the Performing Magician and to draft the curriculum for the I.C.O.M Magicschool Program of Study have been the great joys of Dr.OM’s, never old, but somewhat older age. Everlasting thanks are with these great friends and great teachers who have so generously shared their magic with Dr.OM.

And then there are all those great gigs in all manner of venues and the wonderful kids of all ages, past, present, and far into the future.

Dr. Om Entertaining Governor Mario Cuomo


April 1999

Co-Directors Notes: “Early in February I saw a remarkable article in a magazine.

The reason I felt it was remarkable was because it captured the view of magic from a layman as well as anything I had ever read. Not only that, this layman was not only interested in magic for fun but also an expert in the field of sales and marketing presentation. This gentleman is Mr. Tad Simons, editor of Presentations Magazine.

I e-mailed him immediately and asked if I.C.O.M. could use the article. He graciously agreed.

What you are about to read is the complete article. I’m sure you’ll agree that it has much value. if dissected and contemplated. Enjoy it…dissect it…contemplate it. Thanks Tad!

Bill Wisch

A little magic can go a long way in this imperfect world

Tad Simons

“Reprinted with permission of Presentations magazine”

My 5-year old son still believes in magic. Which is why, the day before Christmas, I paid a guy $20 to teach me how to levitate a dollar bill.

I had originally stepped into the magic shop to find a goofy stocking stuffer or two-something to make the boy laugh. They had it all: whoopie cushions, dribble glasses, disappearing ink, rubber doggie-doo. And I was ready, even eager, to buy. Ready, that is, until the store clerk came over and said, “Sir, do you just want to give your son a couple of cheap laughs, or would you rather amaze him?”

The guy couldn’t have been more than 18, and he certainly didn’t look like much of a magician. He wore the uniform of modern adolescence: baggy Old Navy T-shirt, ratty black jeans and paint-splattered tennis shoes. But he had my attention. Sure, I’d rather be amazing than funny. In a boy’s eyes, amazement puts you in the same league with Santa Clause, and that’s right where I wanted to be. I was ashamed to admit, though, that I might need a little help.

“What have you got?” I asked, with just enough skepticism in my voice to let him know that I was not easily fooled. He smirked and walked around behind the counter. A bumper sticker on the rack next to him read, “When in doubt, ask a teenager-while they still know everything.” Then he took a dollar bill out of the cash register and crumpled it into a ball. “This one’s easy,” he said.

After passing his hand over with a hocus-pocus flourish, he picked up the crumpled bill between his thumb and forefinger and held it in front of him about chest high. Then he let go.

But the bill didn’t drop- it just hung there in mid-air, like a little hot-air balloon. Must be attached to some fishing line, I thought. But I didn’t see any fishing line, and he knew it. He then made a circle with his fingers and passed it all around the hovering wad, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that he could indeed defy gravity.

“Not bad,” I said, trying to hide the fact that I was completely stumped. “How long would it take me to learn that trick?”

“That depends,” the kid answered. “You can probably learn the basic trick in about five minuted. But if you really want to make it special, it’ll take you about three months.”

After an hour of practicing the trick at home, I began to see what he meant. It was one thing to master the brute mechanics of the trick, but quite another to develop the verbal patter and fluidity of movement necessary to fool anyone with it, let alone amaze them.

The moral of the story

This cocksure teenager knows something about presentation skills that many of us never learn: It takes patience, diligence and a heroic work ethic to create something special. It also takes a recognition that there is an achievable level of skill beyond the ordinary, and that this level of mastery is wroth striving for.

Thousands of presentations are delivered every day in the country, and though I don’t have any research to prove it, I’d be willing to bet that a good percentage of them are slapped together at the last minute and delivered with about as much style and ceremony as a Dominoes’ pizza. Like the pizza, they may get the job done, but in a flavorless, unadventurous wat that leaves a bad taste in your mouth: the taste of relentless mediocrity.

I know all the excuses-no time, money, energy, desire, need, blah, blah, blah. They are all the reasons why I will never master the illusion of the levitating dollar bill-why it will, in my hands, remain a trivial party trick. I am not a professional magician, though. If I were, I like to think that I would make every effort possible to make that dollar bill float like a cloud.

More often than we would like to admit, however, professional presenters (myself included) step up to the podium with just enough preparation to get by, hoping to get through the ordeal without embarrassing ourselves. Goals don’t get much more modes than that.

But there is something more we can all shoot for-that next level of mastery that distinguishes great presentations from the merely good or the barely adequate. It may be too much to ask for, but in a perfect world, every presentation would contain a little magic.

If you enjoyed this article as much as we did…

E-Mail Tad Simons at:


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Advanced Lab 4/99-6/99


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 1999

We’re going to do something a little off-beat here in the Advanced Lab this month. Since many “advanced” magicians are working pro’s, we are going to use this lesson to give a little theory about a professional matter…BJG

“The PK Factor”
Bill Wisch

This article is more for performing magicians than anyone else. I just thought it would be a good topic to mention something about.

Most magicians don’t consider a very important element when it comes to booking a show and getting paid what they’re worth for a performance. Also, the general public has no idea, for the most part, that there are levels of performance and it’s tough, sometimes, to educate them to this fact without sounding like you’re putting down fellow performers or just chewing on a few sour grapes. Hopefully you’ll get something from this and have an easier time, both in your mind and in your possible client’s mind, about where you are in the entertainment chain, magic wise.

The letter P stands for Performance or Presentation. The letter K stands for Knowledge. I believe that when someone pays for a show, the fee shouldn’t only be for your performance but also for the knowledge to achieve that performance or presentation.

A doctor charges, not just to fix you up, but for the knowledge to be able to fix you up. Same with a lawyer…or a plumber…or any number of other service businesses. You pay for the service and for the knowledge of the service.

The fact that you hire the proven lawyer or a doctor who is a specialist assures you of the finest possible results. Well, I don’t see it being any different for magicians, or any entertainers for that matter.

And yet, the phone rings and the voice on the other end freaks out when you quote a price far exceeding what they thought you would quote. Then you feel you have to back down or feel threatened that you’ll lose the job if you don’t lower your price. Or you give a discount if they want two shows…or if they want you for a longer time. Well, think about this…how many years have you studied? How many lectures have you attended? How much equipment have you tried…or books have you read…just to get the 45 minutes or so you offer the customer as your act? How much thought have you incorporated into the show? How much will it take to put on the show? How much time will it take to get to and return from the show?

If you have approached your profession the same way a lawyer or doctor or plumber or electrician or any other service person would, especially if you have some success and experience that makes you stand out, then why can’t you charge more for the knowledge you’ve acquired as well as for the actual performance or presentation? The plumber says he charges $10 to fix the pipe and $90
for knowing HOW to fix it. Anybody can tinker. But to know WHERE and HOW to tinker is the key.

Don’t get me wrong. You shouldn’t charge some outrageous fee when the customer can’t pay it. I know a number of professionals that boast big bucks from clients. I mean BIG bucks! Maybe it’s true, but I sometimes tend to think they stretch it a little (or a lot!)because after doing paid shows of one type or another for the last 28 years, I find that, for the most part, there is a ceiling that a customer can afford and if you try to go above that you’ll probably be sitting home wondering why John J. Public isn’t ringing your phone off the hook. That’s especially true with the birthday party performer. Bobby agrees totally. Use common sense! If you over charge you’re not only going to lose some work (maybe a lot!) but also scare off some folks from even calling you or any other magician in the furture. They might not say it to you but it’s true.

Now, it’s back to the other side of the coin. Charge what you feel you’re worth. The PK factor, if taken literally and applied to yourself in a no-nonsense, pragmatic fashion, will probably raise your prices a little (maybe even a lot) to at least get you to that ceiling I mentioned. It’s always a tough call and what you charge will be up to you anyway, but just sit in a nice chair sometime without your favorite magazine or book or trick and just muse over the PK factor and how it applies in your case. I believe you should get paid for both the performance of your show as well as for your KNOWLEDGE to put on that show the way you do.

Any questions or comments? E-mail me and we can make a virtual lesson out of it.

May 1999

( Of Work!)
Ronald J. Dayton

I.C.O.M members who joined our ranks during the early stages of the school’s growth already know of my love of magic involving letters and words. Those of you who are newcomers can find this out by browsing the archives. The case in point is this effect, which may be considered an exercise if you will. It may not fit the needs of an actual working performer…but as an example, it shows some of the thought process in developing a new trick.

The premise of the effect is a long slip of paper which is shown to the audience. The word which is printed on the slip in large, bold letters relates directly to the story the performer is weaving.

The performer tells of his desire to write a book about his exploits in magic…a story of his travels, successes, and failures. He claims it was an autobiographical work! This is the word printed in lower—case letters across the strip of paper.

As the story continues, he says he took the work to a printer. The chief editor was a guy named Al. As this is said, the performer has removed large scissors from his inside jacket pocket. He uses it to point to the last two letters in the word.. .a, 1.. .Al. There seemed to be bad chemistry between Al and him right from the start. The first words out of Al’s mouth were, “ There’s no such word as autobiographical. This work is autobiographic in nature! “ And he made his first cut. With this comment, you snip away the letters al from the left end of the paper.

You ramble on, telling the audience how, as Al read through the manuscript, his comments became more and more graphic. Then, as you pause for a moment, you make your next cut between the letters ‘o and g’. Allow the word ‘graphic to fall to the floor as you retain the section of the slip with the letters ‘autobio’’ still intact.

Then you say…” Oh… ( as you snip away the outermost letter o from the slip ) I don’t know…
(snipping away the letter i as you say I)…Al wasn’t leaving me much of a story at all.”

You now have the letters autob remaining on the slip you hold. The back of the slip has been prepared with a double coat of rubber— cement which has been allowed to dry and was then dusted with a coating of talcum powder. This preparation is made so the paper may be folded in half down the middle of the letter ‘t’, and the strip cut ala Will DeCeives Clippo effect. As you cut only the letter ‘t’ from the middle of the strip you say, “ All the cuts Al was making made me angry.. .but it seemed to suit him to a tee!’

The strip is now opened out and shown to be restored. The letters which remain in a row are auob. You then conclude by saying…

By the time Al was done, there was nothing left to tell. No, really. the entire body of work had disappeared as if by magic. It was gone!” As you say the word gone, you slowly turn the auob slip upsidedown. The letters magically change to read…GONE!


April 1999

Introduction to the Marlo effect

Here it is folks! The long awaited release of what may be the last previously un-released Ed-Marlo effect! This is pure gold and exclusive to I.C.O.M members. If you were to buy this effect already made up as a packet trick, you would easily pay $10.00-$12.00 for it.

Is this simple to make up and perform? Nope! But any who are familiar with Ed Marlo effects know that his material was never too easy. But hey, that’s why it here and not in the beginner’s forum.

We only ask that you keep this extremely rare gem within the confines at I.C.O.M. However, we do encourage you to blow-them-away with it at the next magic club meeting! And if they ask where you learned it, tell them that they have to join I.C.O.M to find out. Hey, if they join, we’ll give you a bonus six months anyway…you can’t beat that! ….BJG

Edward Marlo

Edward Marlo, Stapled Routine

BACKGROUND: My initial contact with Mr. Marlo began as a result of having viewed one of his videotapes of original card material. I happened to notice that the positioning of one of the cards in an effect was completely contrary to what it should be if the illusion being created could actually be done. I didn’t know how Mr. Marlo would react to being told about this, but I took a chance and wrote to him, explaining what I had seen. He replied in very short order and was very cordial and pleased with what I told him.

Although we never met in person, we did begin a brief period of correspondence. Sadly, he passed away within a year of the exchange has begun.

At one point-in-time, I explained the effect of mine to him which was called The Siamese Cards. It was based on a Karl Fulves challenge ( unsolved problem ) titled ” Iron Curtain “, which was offered in Interlocutor *50. My solution, The Siamese Cards appeared in my first One Man Parade in The Linking Ring, March 1990.

The basic effect was this: Two playing cards are removed from the top of the deck and tossed face up, one at a time, onto your table. The two cards are eventually placed together, then pivoted at right angles to one another, forming a cross shape. The cards, lying in this formation on your table are then covered by the left hand. A stapler is set on top of the left hand. You press it down as if to staple something THRU the hand. The stapler is set aside.. and when the left-hand lifts from the covered cards, they are now found to be magically stapled together. After a bit of by-play, the cards are offered for examination. Construction…


Bottom Right Hand Card Shows The Strips Of Double Sided Tape

METHOD: In order to accomplish this highly visual stapled card routine, you will need three sets of duplicate cards. Three 4S and three lOD as outlined in the Marlo routine. As far as actual ‘materials’ go to construct the necessary cards, you will need the following; the required cards, a stapler w/staples, Scotch tape, carpet tape, scissors, pen, Xacto knife, a bit of magician’s wax, and several indifferent cards.

Begin by taking one of the indifferent cards ( shown in the illustrations as the AC ) and carefully mark and cut a disc from the center, Fig. 1. I positioned a dime on the card and traced around it with a pen prior to cutting. The piece removed will be called piece “A”. From a second indifferent card you must now cut a second disc. This one, Disc “B”, is one and one eighth inch diameter. Place a couple of dabs of magician’s wax on this disc as indicated by the x’s, then slide the disc under the AC, centering and positioning it in the smaller hole, Fig. 2. Now, apply some wax to the FRONT of smaller disc “A”, then position this into the dime-size hole and press into place.

Take the lOD and place it face down on the back of the AC. Holding the two cards neatly squared, the stapler is slipped over the ends of the cards and a have a staple affixed in the center of the card horizontally.

Apply four thin strips of double-stick carpet tape on the face of the ace, Remove the backing paper and set the card aside for a moment.

Slip the face-down 4S into the stapler and staple the card so the staple runs parallel with the length of the card, Put a small strip of Scotch tape over the back of the staple. This will prevent the two staples in the moving assembly from getting hung up. Lastly, align the 4S over the AC, pressing the carpet tape firmly to the back of the 4S. The finished product, in pivoted condition, will appear as in Fig. 3.

Read and follow the construction instructions carefully and you will end up with a beautifully made gimmicked card set.

A second set of cards consisting of a duplicate lOD and 4S are actually stapled together in a criss-cross fashion and clipped as suggested by Mr. Marlo under the jacket. These are the cards which are switched in for eventual examination by the curious. The third set of duplicates is, of course, the ungimmicked cards shown as singles at the top of the deck.

I have been told in the past that if Scotch tape, and tape, in general, had never been invented.. .I would never be able to invent a trick. And I realize that many of the readers.. especially the purists, may find my methods too heavy-handed, and taboo to their tastes. But this effect, and especially the Marlo handling, may actually pique the interest of some. For those of you energetic enough to construct a set, I think you will be pleased.

The following routine is based on one by Ronald J. Dayton.

(1) Required are the Dayton gimmicked cards. Assume these are the 4S and lOD. On top of the deck, have two loose duplicates with the lOD on top and 45 at second. The stapled cards have the 4S as face card. This gimmick is placed on top of deck thus over the regular lOD and 4S. Place any regular card on top of the 4 card set-up.

(2) A duplicate permanently stapled pair, with 4S as the face card1 is placed in a clip on the outside of the right inside coat pocket. The face of the stapled cards is away from the body. You are now set to perform the following routine.

(3) You can false shuffle the deck if you wish. Eventually, hold the deck so it faces spectators as you double cut top card to the bottom. Still holding top of deck from view of audience the right thumb lifts up 4 cards at inner end, then moves them upward. Right hand grasps outer end of the cards and turns them over and face up on top of deck with a left fourth finger tip break held below them.

(4) The left thumb deals over the face card, which is taken by right hand, to display the 4S in the right hand and lOD on top of deck. Right hand places its 4S along side the lOD. The cards, still spread, are now turned face down, sidewise to the left, while left hand tips inward to conceal the top of the deck.

(5) Right thumb, at inner end, lifts up only the two stapled cards with right four fingers on top of card to cover the staple. Left hand places the deck into the left side coat pocket.

(6) Right hand places the cards onto the left fingers which now also cover the staple at the face. The left hand turns inwards to display the face of the card(s) towards the audience. The left thumb covers the staple at the back. The right hand is free to pivot the top card to right angles.

(7) The left hand turns palm down with fingers covering the staple. Right hand picks up the stapler and apparently staples the cards thru the fingers. Once the cards are stapled the left fingers and thumb move to the left. Left hand now displays a staple apparently going thru both cards. The cards can be shifted from hand to hand. End up with cards face up. The right hand grasps the face card, double card, by the ends. The left fingers and thumb grasp the ends of the lower single card. The left and right hands now pull in opposite directions, downward and upward, which convincingly shows the cards really stapled together.

(8) End up with the left hand holding the cards, faces toward audience, with left fingers on the face and thumb at the back. You now start to put the cards into your right inside coat pocket. Once under the coat the left hand quickly dumps its cards into the pocket then at once grasps the permanetly stapled cards and comes out apparently still holding the original cards. Toss these aside to the table and pay no attention to them. DON’T offer them for inspection. The curious will eventually pick them up.

(9) The left hand goes to the outside left coat pocket to get the deck. ‘While there the left thumb deals off the top duplicate cards to leave them in the pocket. You can now continue with other card effects if you wish.


All manufacturing & reproduction rights to this effect & routine are retained by Ronald J. Dayton & The International Conservatory Of Magic-Copyright 1999


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Beginner’s Study 4/99-6/99


Beginner’s Study 4/99-6/99

Welcome the I.C.O.M Beginner’s Study! Here you will find high-quality material that is within the technical ability of virtually all magicians. It is important to note that while this place is specifically designed for the magical novice in mind, we strive to include material that is strong enough for even the seasoned professional.

June 1999

“Beyond Magic”
(A simple card trick)
Bobby J. Gallo

Continuing with our analysis of classic effects, I am excited to bring you this next effect. No one really knows the origin of the basic trick, suffice to say that it can be found in dozens of beginner’s books on magic. So why are we making a lesson out of it? Simple. I wish to show you how I have adapted a beginner’s effect to actually work in a professional repertoire.

I will not only give you the basic effect here but my actual routine. I will leave it up to your own conscience as to whether or not you wish to use my presentation in your own performances or develop your own. I am releasing the routine solely to educate I.C.O.M members in the art of routine development.

The magician fans out a deck of cards to the audience stating that if he were to have the audience merely “pick-a-card” and then find it, that would be a good trick. But he intends to do is not only magic but “Beyond Magic”!

He then has a person actually pick a card look at it and place it on top of the deck. After cutting the deck and squaring it up he places it on the table again stating that merely looking through the deck to find the card is good, but the audience is fortunate enough to see something much more incredible. “When I snap my fingers,” says the wizard, a card is going to jump out of the deck, flip itself over, and put itself back inside the deck telling me where your card is! Such a feat would not just be ordinary magic, but Beyond Magic, wouldn’t you agree?

The magician then snaps his fingers and immediately asks if the audience saw the card do its magical acrobatics. When the audience replies in the negative, the magician says, “Sorry, I should have told you not to blink, the card travels slightly slower than the speed of sound”.

“Well, if the card did everything I said it would, there would be a reversed card in the deck right? But when I fanned out the deck at the beginning of this experiment, did you see any reversed cards? No? then let’s see if there is one in there now”. The magician then ribbon spreads the cards on the table and lo and behold one card is reversed! “Is this your card asks the performer?” When the audience replies ‘no’ the magician says “Ahhh, but I didn’t say that it would be, I said it would tell me where your card is. What denomination is the card?….a five? Let’s see”. The magician then counts five cards to the left the five, turns over the next card and it is found to be the selection! “That is what we in the magical world call a trick that is truly “Beyond Magic!”

What is the method? You merely take a five-spot and place it face up five cards from the bottom of the deck. That’s the set-up. Then You fan the cards out making sure to keep the face-up five hidden in the bottom stock of cards which really is not that difficult. Then have the selection placed on top of the deck and cut the cards. You may also use a Hindu Shuffle or Vernon key-Card Placement to make it a bit more deceiving.

Then just go through the presentation. The trick practically works itself, but the presentation makes it into a veritable miracle in the eyes of the audience.

A couple of side notes:
Only use cards with a white border for this trick, I have found that no matter how hard you try, if the cards have a solid color background other than white, the edges of the reversed card will show.

When cutting the cards, be sure to use a false-cut rather than a genuine one so as not to accidentally cut in-between the five-card stack.

Also, you may not believe this, but I have found this trick to be so powerful, that I actually decided to use its name “Beyond Magic” as the name for my act which I currently use on all of the promotional materials.

May 1999

Almost Anything Through Table
Bobby J. Gallo

Materials Required, a napkin, and an object large enough to cover a coin.

A funny thing happened to me on my last trade show trip. I was contracted to perform not only on the trade show floor but at a private party after hours. This is the case in many circumstances whereas a professional magician, you are asked to entertain important clients in a more intimate atmosphere than during a large public show. In this case, the company actually rented an entire cafe to throw their party with “yours truly” as the featured entertainment!

I performed for nearly three hours straight for somewhere in the neighborhood of three hundred people. The evening was coming to a close when my employer asked me to perform one more dynamite effect for very special friends of his. Truth be known, I was completely spent as far as material. In the three hours I performed, I exhausted my entire program of close-up magic and even did a few stand-up illusions such as a neat impromptu levitation. Even though I did not want to disappoint my employer, I reluctantly declined, but no such luck. He said with a face that meant it, I HAD to do one more effect, AND it must be the best one of the night! Oh, brother!, I had already done my strongest close-up material! What now?

Thinking about what I already had on me I had two choices, Coins or Cards. I really did not think they wanted to see another card trick so I took out one of the half dollars that I normally use for my coins across routine and I stated that “the most amazing thing I could do “if it worked” would be to pass a coin through a table that I do not own”. As I said this, I lifted the coin high in the air and slammed it down (actually, not very hard) on the hard oak table where is struck with a loud “snap”! Upon lifting my hand the coin was no longer there! I reached under the table and reproduced it. This was greeted with appreciative gasps. I thought that after this spur-of-the-moment miracle my job was done. But then one of the clients brought a friend over with the plea that I “do it again” for him! Knowing the magician’s code I told him that it was not possible. I cannot repeat a trick twice. They insisted I declined, they insisted, I said no, they insisted, and then…so did my employer!

So I made them a deal, I will pass the coin through the table one more time if they all agree that this WILL be the finale of the evening. They agreed, so I then told then that the only problem is that to pass the coin through the table a second time, I will need something heavy to push it through with because as we speak, the table is “healing itself” from the last time I performed this and now it’s going to give me much more resistance (they actually seemed to buy that line!).

So I looked around and the only other thing on the table was a small votive cocktail table candle. I took the candle and blew it out. Then knocked on the coin with it a couple of times pretending that something was supposed to happen that was not. I then stated, “I need something to cover it, I think the light in here is too bright” (the light in the place was actually so low, you could get away with a lot! but it was a funny line). I then took a cocktail napkin and wrapped it over the unlit candle. After knocking on the coin with the candle a few more times I told them that I think it would work this time.

I then positioned the candle over the coin, and with a deep breath, raised my hand high over the candle and slammed my hand down crushing the napkin! I lifted the napkin to reveal to the stunned guests that the candle, not the coin had penetrated the table! I then reached under the table and re-produced the candle. And stated, “Sorry, I knew I couldn’t get the coin through the table a second time. That was the wrong trick, this is where the candle goes through instead!

Everyone FREAKED OUT! I was of course asked to do it again and was even offered good money to do so, I’m not kidding, they took out twenty-dollar bills and said that I could have it all to do it one more time. I graciously thanked them for their generosity, got up, and left. It was probably one of the biggest reactions I ever got from a close-up trick.

I’m now booked to do another private party out of state in July because of that one trick.

Method: Experienced magicians will recognize upon reading the above that at the correct time, the candle was secretly “Lapped” in a manner normally associated with a glass or salt shaker. So the purpose of this lesson is not only to familiarize the novice with the technique of lapping but to illustrate to magicians of all levels how this technique can be done impromptu with many different objects that may be at hand on any given occasion. Many magicians, myself included, get caught up in thinking that certain moves MUST always be done with the object that made them famous. In this case a glass or salt shaker. But that does not need to be the case. Many times magic, if it is spontaneous, is at its strongest as far as audience impact.

To perform this routine you will need three things. (1) A cocktail napkin or cloth restaurant napkin large enough to drape over the object you wish to vanish with plenty of room to spare. (2) The object you wish to vanish. This should be something that is not easily breakable should the object fall off of your lap onto the floor. This routine has been done a drinking glass, but I have known seasoned professionals that have broken them doing this trick, so stay with something that is safe. (3) A coin the size of a quarter or larger.

I think the act of starting with “the coin through table routine” prior to the act of passing the subsequent larger object through the table is very important. This gives added misdirection to the routine because if the audience believes that you are going to pass the coin through the table a second time, why would they ever suspect that you are going to pass the larger object through instead???

The Moves, Phase One: The coin through table move is similar to one described in the now-classic, Sachs Sleight of Hand. The coin is held in the right hand, then transferred to the left hand which then knocks it on the table a few times to prove that both it and the table are solid. On a later try, instead of the right hand transferring the coin to the left hand, it makes a false placement. Here you can merely pretend to place it in the left hand while secretly retaining it in the right, or you can use any one of the myriads of coin vanishing moves, a few of which are described in the I.C.O.M Sleight of hand gallery. The hand containing the coin is brought under the table while the left hand that pretends to hold the coin, brings the actual coin onto the table. Now here is the important move. As you pretend to pass the coin through the table with the left hand, the coin under the table is simultaneously knocked against the underside of the table completing the illusion that the left hand contains the coin and is knocking it against the top of the table. This is an audio illusion as opposed to an optical illusion. The left hand then rubs the spot where you are pretending to pass the coin through. Lift the left hand slowly to show that the coin is gone. Bring the right hand containing the coin out from under the table showing the coin magically passed through the tabletop.

The Moves, Phase Two: The second phase features the Lapping move. After you have stunned them with the coin through table, you can stop right there or proceed by stating that it is impossible for you to do it a second time unless you first use a larger object to force it through. Tell them that is just how it works, plain and simple. Or that it is magical physics, you can think of something I’m sure!<G>.

Forming the napkin around the object

The object is covered with the napkin and after you form the latter around the object, in my case it was a candle, you knock the coin a couple of times with the object. Again, not to hard especially if you do not own the table!

Each time you knock the coin with the covered larger object, you bring the object back to the edge of the table over your lap to apparently look closely at the coin. Bring it over your lap twice without yet executing the Lapping move. On the third time, however, the right hand secretly comes up from underneath the table and grabs the covered large object and lowers it into the lap. Do not drop the object into the lap. That is how things break!

The napkin at this point should still retain the form of the object and the audience will believe that the object is still contained therein.

The lapping move from Magician’s point of view…Kind of!
(Note how the hand lowers the object rather than just letting it drop into the lap)

Then say something to the effect that “this isn’t going to work” and suddenly crush the napkin over the coin showing that it was not the coin that went through the table, but the larger object!

Then get ready to sign autographs!

April 1999

The Card-Board Illusion
Bobby J. Gallo



It’s happened to all of us. You are starting out in magic and you really want to perform some big shows in front of a large audience, but there is one small problem. You cannot afford all of those large props that you see the magicians on television performing. You need something that is large enough to capture the audience’s interest, but it must be something that you can readily make at home.

This month’s lesson is an actual routine that I performed for my initiation show for S.A.M Assembly 168 around the year 1983 at the landmark ‘Lamplighter Restaurant in New Jersey’. I created it to fill the need for a really big prop that would fill the rear of the stage, was easy and cost-effective to make, but also had the impact of a serious magic effect. It worked very well and even though it is nearly two decades later, I would still use it if the need arose.

A large blackboard is seen sitting on an easel on stage. It seems to be about four feet across by two feet in height. On it are pasted 52 playing cards in straight rows. There is no apparent order to the cards. They just seem to be haphazardly pasted on the blackboard in what you could call a “Shuffled Fashion”.

The performer then addresses the audience. He shows them the board and states that it is able to transmit psychic messages to him/her. He then takes out an ordinary deck of playing cards and has them examined and shuffled. One is then selected, noted, and returned to the deck. The magician then hands a large pad to the person who selected the card and asks them to write the name of the card onto the pad. After this is done, a second spectator is asked to the stage. The second spectator is asked to look at the pad and then very slowly run their fingers across the cards until the magician dramatically says “STOP!”

The magician then states that he saw a red light that is visible only to him when the spectator ran his finger over the one card that this finger now rest on. When pad is turned over it is seen that the card chosen by the first spectator and the card the magician told the second spectator to stop on IS THE VERY SAME CARD!…………Cool

This is one of those effects that is truly ALL EFFECT! You will go to a little trouble to make up all the props needed and the only reason for them is stage dressing! Yep, the props play a very little role in how the trick is done. And why you ask? The reason is simple. All you have to do in order to pull off this miracle is merely FORCE ONE PLAYING CARD! (See I.C.O.M Archives 10/98: Forcing Techniques-A Primer)Remember, this is a lesson on how you can take a simple concept such as forcing a card and allow it to play on the largest stage. If you were to have a card forced and then merely revealed, it has virtually no impact on a large audience. What you need to do is “translate” that effect and “enlarge” it so that it can be appreciated by the entire crowd. The fact that the secret is so simple actually works in your favor because you now have all the opportunity in the world to be creative and concentrate on your presentation. After all, that is what it is all about..isn’t it?

The board can be made up very simply. All you need is a large piece of cardboard the dimensions stated above or like I used, a piece of sheet paneling. I spray painted it black and took an old used deck of cards and pasted them onto the board. I think I used rubber cement, but any good paste that will not ruin the cards will do. I then used applied a coat of clear lacquer over the surface to protect the cards from the wear and tear of the many venues I play.

You can make this as simple or as elaborate as you like. You may even wish to hinge the board in the center to make it easier to transport. Another idea would be to “sandwich” the cards in- between the paneling sheet and a clear sheet of plexiglass. That would be a little more complicated, but if you are contemplating performing a great deal of shows with it, it’s well worth it. But no matter what you finally decide on as far as the construction of the board is concerned, remember, the purpose is to make this card trick look really BIG even though the secret of the effect is very small (the forcing of a playing card).

There is an offbeat thing about this effect that I will never forget. I was approached on an occasion by a SAM member named Bob Pierce who goes by the name of Mr. Patchpockets. He took one look at the Card-board and said, “That is one neat looking trick!” Because that is another plus to this prop, it really dresses the stage nicely.

The pad is thrown into the mix so that the spectator cannot change their mind and try to throw you off during the performance which in this day and age is so often the case. It also allows for a dramatic climax when you turn it around to reveal that it is indeed the same card that you had the second spectator stop on.

The rest of the routine should be self-explanatory but I will outline it anyway.

  • The Card-Board is resting on the easel onstage and is introduced to the audience.
  • A playing card is selected (actually forced…..the trick is done!)
  • The card is then written boldly in a magic marker on a large pad by the spectator who chose the card and is then held face-down by same.
  • A second spectator is invited to the stage to look at the pad. (having two spectators make the act look even bigger!)
  • The second spectator is asked to very slowly run their fingers over the rows of cards until you say stop.
  • Look like you are concentrating very hard then when they reach the forced card, you say STOP! in your most dramatic voice! (if they accidentally go past the correct card before you had the chance to stop them, don’t worry, just have them reverse directions and stop them accordingly, I had to do this once during a show)
  • Have the second spectator call aloud the card you have stopped them at.
  • Take the pad from the first spectator and show it to the audience. THE CARDS MATCH!

A dramatic finish to the world’s easiest


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Secret Passageway 1/99-3/99


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

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.

This Forum Is Rated PG

1st. quarter 1999

“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.”

January 1999

The Spooky Ethereal Ghost Touch
Bobby J. Gallo

Many magicians may recognize this trick from endless beginner’s books on magic. Indeed, I actually teach this trick myself to my beginning magic students in after school programs. For them in that situation it is harmless fun. However, One incident made me rethink this feat as being a fantastic “Mood-Setter” in the right situation, lending a certain atmosphere for a program of bizarre magic.

I was working a cruise ship a few years back when one night during stormy rough seas, all the entertainment staff, (myself, the juggler and a few dancers) were in the main showroom area relaxing after the show. All the passengers had gone and it was only us. This was a very old ship and it lent itself well to the telling of tall scary sea tales. After all were sufficiently prepared to be spooked out, I asked one of the dancers if she would care to participate is a mini-seance of sorts? She consented and with the most serious of tones, I proceeded to perform the ancient children’s trick, “The Ghost Touch”. When the climax to the trick came, Something happened that I did not expect, “She screamed at the top of her lungs!” After the laughter in the room died down I realized that this is indeed a powerful trick correctly presented! So here it is for you to try on your next magical victim!

The magician asks the audience, Do you believe in ghosts? Whatever the answer, the performer asks a brave spectator to have a seat. Upon doing so, the magician states that in order to conjure a spirit to this plane, the assistant has to do exactly what the magician says, or this experiment will simply not work. “All you have to do” says the entertainer. “Is close your eye’s when I tell you and do not open them until I tell you”. Simple enough!

“Oh, and before we start it is important to make sure that there is no one seated or standing behind our assistant.” “Please look behind you” asks the magician. The assistant does so and see’s no one. “No is hiding anywhere near her. That is important to note.”

The magician then positions his two hands in front of the spectators face, telling them that he will place the forefinger of each hand onto the forehead of the assistant.

He does so and asks the assistant to close her eyes. He then tells her to open her eye’s. Upon doing so he slowly moves his forefingers away from the face of the spectator. As he moves his forefingers back to the forehead of the assistant, he again says “close your eye’s” as she does his fingers come to rest once again on her forehead. These actions are repeated several more times. Then the magician says “if we continue, sometimes a trance-like state is developed and a few people can actually feel a ghost touch them!”

Several more times the process is repeated until out of nowhere, the spectator lets out a terrifying scream! The magician says open you eye’s! “What happened”, the assistant then states that she actually felt a ghost tap her on the back! And all the while both magician hands must have been busy because the assistant realize that his two forefingers were on her forehead at the time the ghost tapped her!

Three things must be stated right off the bat.

  • You should always pick a woman for this effect. While it will work with a man, men tend jump, and this can be very funny. Woman scream! I know this sounds politically incorrect, but in all my years of doing this, that is what works best…period.
  • You can perform this trick in one of two ways. As a serious seance piece in which case you can only do it for a single person at a time (something makes me uneasy about this idea). Or for a group (recommended) where it becomes a mystical effect for the person seated but comedy for the rest of the group. Much like Slydini’s paper balls over the head.
  • The situation must be just right or this routine simply does not have the desired effect.

Proceed as in the description of the effect until you feel it is right for the climax of the routine. When that point it reached, instead of placing the forefinger of each hand on the assistants forehead, merely take the index and middle finger the the left hand (like making a 60’s peace sign) and place that on the forehead instead. The assistant should think that both your hands are now busy. Then take your free hand, reach around their back and “LIGHTLY” tap them. The tap must seem ethereal and ghostly.

As a final note, you may have noticed one very neat thing about this routine. There are no props whatsoever needed! That makes this a feat that truly fits my Commando Magic Criteria (I.C.O.M Library). Wherever you are, you are ready to perform this feat provided you have the right setting and atmosphere as stated earlier.

Warning: Perform this trick at your own risk, if they faint, you may wish to have water handy!

February 1999

” Of The Flesh “
Ronald J. Dayton

Bizarre Magic sometimes seems to smack of the occult. When presented in this guise, many feel it is totally inappropriate, and that legitimate performers of stage magic should dis-associate themselves with it…indeed, that it should not be presented at all. Perhaps this is a view you also share…and your opinion should be respected.

What I am about to offer this month in Shadows is a presentation of a blend of pure theater and magic. It is a variation of material which originally appeared in a limited publication, ” The Stark Grimoire ” by Dean A. Montalbano. The approach you take if you should choose to embrace any of the elements of the offering will be completely up to you. As a bit of speciality theme entertainment or Halloween party added atmosphere, it most certainly could have its place.

Setting and atmosphere are all important. The room in which you perform this small vignette is all important. Placement of chairs, props and control of lighting are crucial. It is best if this is given on an evening when the natural elements such as rain, moonlight and wind combine with the darkness to set the mood.

After leading the mind set of the guests down an unclear path of unsettling feelings you have been experiencing lately. Strange sounds…frightening dreams and a general sense of uneasiness…you eventually, although not willingly, admit that there is something you have been keeping from them. You ask them to follow you. There is something you would like them to see.

As they enter the room which they have not previously been allowed to enter, the atmosphere is almost foreboding. A heavy, pungent smell of herbs and burning incense fills the dimly lit room. The sound, although almost imperceptibly low of strange music drifts from some distant source. Centered in an ornate area rug stretched out in the middle of the room they see what appears to be a large straight back chair. From what is visible, it seems to be something from the middle ages. Decorative feet clutch at the rug like the talons of a beast. The chair is draped with a heavy covering cloth of rich black velvet. Beneath the drape is a form of some sort…possibly, human.

Tall wrought iron candle holders stand one to each side of the chair. Several feet in front of the center chair is a semicircle of plain straight back chairs, numbering just enough to accommodate
all of the dinner guests.

The last touches as far as props are concerned are items which occupy a table several feet to the left of the centralized chair. Upon the table rests a decorative metal tray…A large pewter chalice brimming with some sort of granular powder, and a small wooden chest…quite ornate, and obviously very old.

The guests are asked to take a seat there at the semi circle of chairs. Crossing their arms, and holding the hand of the person seated to either side of them, they are requested to sit in silence, and not to move…no matter what may transpire.

An assistant or overseer may assist in dimming the lights just a bit as you begin weaving your mysterious tale. You speak of past indiscretions in seeking knowledge people are not meant to delve into. Toying with, experimenting with the unseen forces of the Ouija Board, and the control gradually stripped away from your life. The voices, the images…the nightmares which woke you bolt upright and dripping with sweat. You nervously reveal, unbelievable as it may sound, of an embodiment of evil…a demon which had entered your life.

He spoke to you at first through the Ouija Board. At first he played with you like a cat amusing himself with a mouse. At first your thoughts and will were your own, but, eventually, this monster was beginning to infiltrate the very fiber of your soul. Seeking to destroy him …you burned the witchboard in your fireplace. But as the Ouija was consumed in flames, as the last amber died a slow and crackling death…the words ” You are not rid of me “, appeared as if penned by some ghostly finger in the ashes.

Haunted by the thought this demon would return…the hours of each day passed like eternal torment…your mind was racked with fear and pain.

Several months ago…there was a knock at my door. The hour was late, but something compelled me to open it. I was shocked, to say the very least , to have this greet my eyes.

With these words, you move quickly to the covered form, and pull the cloth back and away. Revealed to the silent spectators is a gaunt and pallor young woman dressed in a flowing gown of white. Her eyes are dark and recessed, but opened wide. Her lips are a deep blood red. The flickering light of the candles on either side cause shadows to dance across her almost cadaver like form.

I know not from where she came…but, I know who sent her. She is my near lifeless reminder of the under world I dared to enter. Her skin is cold to the touch…and her appetite is…shall we say, unusual…but the meals are easy to prepare.

You turn to the table at your right and pick up the ancient wooden chest. The lid is opened and the contents briefly shown to the seated guests. Many are repulsed at what they see, and turn their heads away. The chest is found to hold the meal of which you spoke. It brims and seethes with a mass of moving, undulating worms and bugs.

Returning to the seated form in white, you reach into the chest and remove a wriggling strand of slime. Almost instinctively, her head snaps back and her mouth opens wide, devouring and savoring the tasty morsel as you lower it to her lips. As the lid slams shut with a startling bang, her head again snaps down to face the guests. With no sign of emotion or disgust , she swallows the squirming treat.

Walking to the table once again, the chest is set to one side. It is now that the lovely metal tray is shown front and back with a casual turn of the wrist. The pewter chalice is now placed upon the tray as you explain what it is you hope the guests will help you to do. You see, it is this very evening that the demon has said he will return. With the help of the assembled party, you hope to perform a ritual. One which will rid you of your curse, and bring sanity back to your life.

A circle of protection must now be formed.

Walking around the lady in white, the granular powder from the chalice is poured out in a line around her. Spectators become a bit more edgy when they realize that they are not within the circle.

You now carry the tray and chalice to the seat near the middle of the semi circle. Placing the tray on that person’s lap…you ask them not to move…just to guard the tray, and wait. The chalice is lifted from the tray, and the remaining contents poured out on to the tray. You spread the mound of powder out a bit, then turn and walk defiantly toward the lady in white. Lifting the chalice upward to the heavens, you command the demon to hear your words. Muttering a low and unclear incantation at first, as if speaking in tongues…you eventually raise your voice to command the following: “ DEMON BEGONE…LEAVE THIS PLACE…RETURN TO YOUR EVIL WORLD. LET THE DOOR BE SHUT FOR ALL ETERNITY. ” ( A pause ) ” GIVE US SOME SIGN ! “

As you shout the final words…the lady in white shrieks out a chilling scream. Instantly, a huge gash appears in her arm…and as she reaches to touch it, blood spews forth from the wound. You move quickly to catch some of the crimson fluid in your chalice. Lifting it skyward once again, you command..” BE GONE !” There is the eerie sound of wind and the ear splitting sound of some unearthly, monstrous growl. One of the candles bursts into a blinding light as the silver tray flies from the lap of the spectator into the center of the protective circle.

When the tray is lifted, and turned over…a residue of powder reveals a message. There, written on the tray are the words...”SO BE IT !”

The lights are brought up to full. The lady in white sits with a cordial smile on her face… obviously fatigued a bit by the ordeal…but whole and well. There is no evidence of damage or injury to harm…the gaping gash wondrously healed. All is well as you thank your guests for their invaluable help, and bid them return to the party while you collect yourself.

As you leave the room, escorted by any assistant you chose to use for the lighting and sound…the lady in white remains. Locking the door behind you…the chamber, and your secrets, remain undisturbed.

The tray is simply a decorative metal silver tray to which the letters for the ‘message’ have been formed with a bit of magician’s wax, or post-a-note glue to which the mysterious white powder (white sand) will stick when spread out upon it.

The chest is any nice fancy cigar box or old jewelry chest you care to antique and embellish with brass hinges, latches, adornments etc. The secret to this is that the bottom has been removed from the box, and a dark, flexible plastic sheet has been glued and stapled in its place. The box is then filled with a few edible leaves and flower petals…some latex night crawlers from a sporting goods store…some plastic bugs etc. One corner of the bottom has a few Gummie Worms dusted with a bit of cocoa. An added slimy touch is to put in a bit of Karo syrup. By moving your fingers across the bottom of the box as you hold and display it..the critters inside seem to take on a life all their own at a glance. It is one of the Gummie Worms of course, which is fed to the lady in white.

The music and sound effects are all pre-recorded. The incense, the lighting and the fact that you have lead your guests to a certain path of thought help to strengthen what they see, and what they believe they see. The sound of the beast and the wind are on a separate tape which your lighting assistant activates when needed. You also have the option of doing this yourself.

The gash and blood are easier than one might suspect. Loosely tied around the arm of the chair is a loop of clear fishing line. When the lady in white raises her arm just a bit, the illusion of a cut or gash appearing in the flesh occurs. In her other hand, she holds a small squeeze bulb containing fake blood. While the tray is being displayed at the conclusion of the seance…she breaks or slips free of the loop and wipes the remaining fake blood from her arm.

The flight of the tray from lap to floor is nothing more than a strong black thread pulled by the light assistant, yourself, or possibly even the lady in white herself.

The bursting of the candle flame is accomplished by nothing more than a piece of flash paper you have stolen and touched to it. Naturally, it is the candle you are standing nearest to at the time.

So there you have it…a full routine of the bizarre and unexplained…all accomplished by very natural means indeed. As a flight of fantasy, or simply as a diversion in entertainment for several close friends who know and understand your interest in all forms of magic…the premise may well be something you could use. If not…at least I hope you have enjoyed reading the explanation and process.

Sincere thanks to Dean A. Montalbano and his alter ego, Mr. Rothchild T. Stark for the inspiration.

March 1999

Ronald J. Dayton

Introductory Presentation to the Audience

The human mind…quite a marvelous thing, wouldn’t you agree !? Such a complex configuration of micro circuitry…impulses and commands…it defies understanding. We are blessed to have it…and sometimes, cursed as well. We come to rely on the things our brain tells us. All of our senses, knowledge, logic and faith are contained within it. What a terrible nightmare then, when things not of our choosing….possibly, not of our world invade this sanctuary and rip reality from our souls.

Man has always known of imagined things. Imagined fears and doubts, imagined demons and imagined pain. But I have found…by slipping into the study of things man should never seek… that many of these imagined things….are very, very real. Creatures can, and do, come creeping in the night. They came because they were invited. Like some naive fool…my dabbling in the occult had opened some mystic door…and in they came. They assembled though I cursed them. They laughed and mocked my frail mortal shell. They taught me things…things I will now share with you.

Introduction to the Workings

The material above is offered as a suggested patter theme for the bizarre bit of theater about to be offered. Given the proper circumstances…guests numbering from one on up will observe things not for the feint of heart. They will witness events which are shocking in the extreme. Things which will be etched in their minds forever.

From the very onset of your party/ gathering…your guests have been perplexed by the fact that a distinctive eye patch seems to protect some recent injury to your eye. You are questioned, no doubt, from time to time…but casually laugh it off as being quite trivial.

At some point of your own choosing later in the evening…once conversation has begun to slow, and the time seems right, you excuse yourself from the room for a moment. Upon your return, all eyes watch as you enter. You are now sporting a crisp white doctor’s jacket …looking for all the world as if you have prepared for surgery.

Your guests are asked to follow you. They are lead to a room which has not been assessable earlier in the evening. The room is appointed in a very peculiar way, almost resembling a medical classroom. At the very front of the room is a large stainless steel table, sans a chair. The only objects on the table are a glass container of cotton balls, complete with lid…and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. About ten feet in front of this table are a row of cold metal chairs…just enough to accommodate each of your guests. A couple of feet behind the chairs is a small, four legged stainless table… approximately the height of a snack tray table. The only object on it is a round tipped tongue depressor (Ice Pop Stick).

Your presentation is begun by leading the minds of your guests toward a predetermined line of thinking via the patter suggested in the first two paragraphs of this lesson. You are free, as always, to change any part or parts you wish. There may well be a better, stronger way to handle this than I have devised. Do whatever works best for you.

The preliminary ‘ speech ‘ is given while you are standing behind the large table, facing your guests. There is the lingering smell of rubbing alcohol permeating the room. It adds greatly to the overall feel of the moment. It gives rise to images of operating rooms…sterile gowns and latex gloves. Although not seen at yet…each individual has a sense that special implements and gleaming surgical steel may soon come into play. There is an uneasiness now, as you walk silently toward them, then around to the smaller table.

“The stick upon this table is not a surgical implement…a fact which I am certain, puts your mind a bit more at ease. Its edge is dull…and rounded. The only one in need of fearing it to any degree, is a small child who is afraid of the doctor who must look into his throat to see if any diseases are present. But the night the demons came, to play their games… to torment me… they brought new meaning to the words pleasure and pain…agony and ecstasy!”

What if…just, what if…the edge of this harmless piece of wood were heated to be hot? What if it then were pressed against the delicate flesh of someone’s neck? I would think there would be excruciating pain.

One of the ladies is approached from the back of her chair. You ask that she remain calm… that you mean no harm. You lift the hair away from the back of her neck. Slowly, by tormenting degrees…allowing her mind to begin imaging hat is about to take place. The hair is then abruptly allowed to fall again as you step back to the smaller table.

You ask if all can now imagine the tongue depressor getting hot. So hot that it is about to burn. No doubt, someone will come forward. When he joins you at the table, you ask the lady to close her eyes…to relax as much as possible.

With her eyes shut…she hears the performer grow uneasy as if the stick is actually getting too hot to hold!. A long minute later…she is aware you are approaching her once again. You ask her to keep her eyes shut tightly, and not to move. She once again feels you lift her hair away from her neck as long seconds pass. Suddenly…she she experiences a horrific burning sensation on her neck. She screams and jumps up in pain. As she spins around unbelievingly to face her attacker… only to find you standing there, with an ice cube in your hand. The tongue depressor had never really been heated at all.

Her friends are mildly amused by the predicament she is in. “I’m sorry my dear for decieving you this way. But what a perfect example of the way our mind can trick us. The pain you felt was neither real nor imagined. It was the product of your senses and nerve endings…and the expectation of what you mind waslead to believe would happen.. Please…take you seat once again. I promise not to trouble you further this evening.”

The ice cube is returned to a small zip-loc plastic bag, the bag closed and replaced in your R.H. jacket pocket as you return to the back of the large table at the front.

“Real or unreal”…how do we know for sure?

The creatures of the night taught me well. They took me to the very brink. They tested the limits of my sanity, and tried their best to break my will. Eventually, I questioned almost everything. My senses were in limbo. My nerves were in tatters. How can this possibly be? Youve just been witness to my little party gag with the hot stick and an ice cube…but though amused at its conclusion…you were not convinced. Perhaps this will change your mind.

With the assistance of a man, the two of you bring the small table around to the front side of the chairs. Thanking him, he is allowed to return to his seat as you pick up the tongue depressor and slip it into your inside jacket pocket.

“Pain pretended to be inflicted upon another may be one thing…but could it be that reality begins when the pain is self inflicted? Is it any less real when we see it with our very eyes?” You be the judge. “

With that, you firmly plant the hand of one arm down upon the center of the small table. Slowly…very slowly, the hand is turned in a clockwise direction. At first, to the point most people might expect…but then…far exceeding expectations. The bones of the wrist are heard to snap and crack as the hand continues to move….eventually being twisted 360 degrees…a full circle, and then
a bit more. Astonishing to see. Beyond comprehension. But somehow, you have endured the pain.

It is now that you turn without a word, and walk back to the rear of the large table. Facing your guests…you begin to weave a tale more incredible than anything that had gone before.

Reality…or yet another lie?

My demons would never say. They left my mind in turmoil, being the liars that they are. That is how they lure us…weaken us. And I have one final proof.

All night you have wondered about this strange patch upon my eye. I could have explained. Perhaps I should have…but I didn’t want to give cause for alarm. The patch you see, is quite real. It covers what for me was the cruelest torment the night creatures had yet devised. I tell you, what I recount is accurate and true as memory allows.”

It is at this point that you reach up and remove the patch from your eye. The patch is tossed upon the table as you look straight toward your captive audience. You begin once again to weave your incredible tale of the nocturnal visitors. Your words and actions blend into an unbelievable sequence of events.

“I had lived in fear for almost seven months when for no other reason than the blessing of sheer exhaustion allowed me to fall into a deep, deep sleep. I have no idea how long I lay there like some still breathing corpse when the first sense of their presence disturbed me. I heard, not too clearly at first, the scratching approach of their footsteps as their claws and scales snagged the carpeting in the hall outside my room. I sat slowly up, trying not to make a sound…trying not to breathe ‘lest they would discover I was there. My heart pounded in my chest as I heard their beast-like grunts. I was frozen as the door know began to jiggle and turn.

I watched in horror as the door began to open and a hideous head peeked in. His eyes were squinting yellow slits…more reptilian in appearance than human. They matched the color of his yellowed, rotting teeth. Like hideous toddlers…he and four others entered my room. They approached the bed…two at each side, the leader crawling up on the mattress at my very feet. >
I have never been so frightened in my life as I was at that moment. The shadowed form at my feet began to stand as upright as he could. As if by this unspoken signal, those at my sides took firm hold of my arms and legs with vice like grips. The leader then got back down on all fours and began to crawl up on to my body. I could feel his tail drag across my leg as he positioned himself
to sit heavily on my chest…legs straddling my rib cage, forcing small barbed claws at the base of his heels deeply in. My fear was so great…I didn’t even scream.”

He studied my face intently, seeming almost fascinated by my eyes. It was almost a look of envy. My eyes were so perfect compared to his. Who would have thought….who in their worst nightmare could imagine what it was he then did without warning.

The thing that necessitated the patch I wear this very night. It happened just like this!” With the final word ‘ this ‘, you reach up and into your eye. Horrified, the guests watch as blood begins to ooze from the socket. Even more unbelievably, they will stand in horror as the hand lowers to reveal your own eye lying in its palm and the socket a dead black, empty hollow in your head.

The eye is placed for a moment in a nonchalant manner upon your table as you reach down to retrieve the eye patch. The patch replaced to cover the injured eye. The left hand then goes to the left hand jacket pocket and removes a small glass jar with twist off lid. The jar is about half full of some light blue liquid. You remove the cap, and haphazardly plop the eyeball inside. Putting the lid tightly back in place, you lift the jar and look at it with your one remaining eye With a smile, you continue.

“Real or unreal?”

I will never tell. But you can rest assured, my quest for knowledge has been curtailed. I can never be certain that the pain was inflicted, the demons were real or simply a figment of my imagination. But if they come again. If they enter my world from their own…I will know. As you see ( pause…then raise and gently shake the jar ) I’m keeping an eye out for them !”

This bit of unexpected levity will bring nervous laughs and groans from those who have been watching in disbelief. It takes the edge off…and lets them know they have nothing to fear. They are then cordially asked to return to the main room…you will join them in just a few minutes.

When you do return…all evidence of what has seemed to have transpired is gone. You are in your normal garb…free of the eye patch and all injuries. It has been an experiment of the mind and
nothing more.

Or was it ?


The Imagined Burn: This is a bit of psychological ‘magic’ that will play exactly as explained. All that is necessary is to combine the proper elements and the mind set for same. The spectator is conditioned to expect a burn. Everything they have seen and heard and sensed has lead them to believe this. What they are not aware of is the fact that the nerve endings of the skin have difficulty in distinguishing the difference between extreme hot and extreme cold. When you touch the ice cube to the guest’s neck…their mind interprets it as a burning sensation.

Twisting Of The Arm: The secret to this beautiful piece of impromptu magic created by Shinko Nagisa is available in printed form from most magic dealers. The price is $5.00 plus postage and handling. Magic Inc. in Chicago, Ill. carries it as do many others. Harry Anderson performed it on the Carson show… and more recently, David Blaine presented it as part of his television special. The cracking noises are an added touch. What you will need for this is a tape recording of one of those pleated plastic containers…which accordian fold down to be more compact…then may be pulled out for full capacity. But even breaking some sticks and twigs and recording same would suffice.

Plucking Of The Eye: Neither simply a sensory trick, nor a marketed effect… this little gem is my very own creation. You will need several items to present this. First of all, you will need to locate as realistic looking as possible false eye. The new ones which are ‘Splat EyeBalls ‘ play very nicely.
I don’t know what they are made of…but if you throw them down upon a table with a fair amount of force…they flatten out. Due to their soft nature, they look quite realistic. A little sticky…but nice. You will need a light color eye patch…not black, a jar filled with some water and blue coloring mix, a small squeeze bulb filled with fake blood, and some flat black make-up.

The tightly closed jar is in your left hand jacket pocket from the start. Prior to the performance you have carefully applied some of the flat black make-up paint to the upper lid of the eye you intend to use in the effect. When the eye is shut it creates the illusion of an empty socket…providing the lighting is at the right level.

Where is the false eye hidden? Simply have it in the right jacket pocket along with the zip lock bag of ice. While standing behind the large table as you make your opening comments…steal the eye out and place it behind the jar of cotton balls. When needed, palm it an as you lift up the patch allow it to fall out of palm position onto the table top.

Odds ‘ N Ends:

The small squeeze bulb can easily be obtained at any time It is held in the hand which assists in the plucking of the eye. There are several cottonballs lying on the table near their jar at the onset of the effect. One of these has been soaked in rubbing alcohol to provide the atmosphere in the room. The squeeze bulb could easily have some cotton stuck to it so it too resembles a cottonball. Knowing where it is positioned will allow you to obtain it secretly and use it in combination with removal of the eye.

After the guests have left the room…simply do a quick clean up. Remove the hospital jacket…clean up any remaining fake blood from your face and arm…then quickly but thoroughly clean the make-up from your eye. You are left clean ( pun intended ) and may join your guests to being the evening to a close in which ever way you choose. Rest assured….they will talk about this evening for days and weeks to follow.


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Secret Passageway 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Secret Passageway 10/98-12/98

Lair Of The World’s Only Bizarre Cyber-Magazine”Shadows”

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

October 1998

“Shadows” is a cyber-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.

I view light / illumination, as knowledge. When light is blocked, shadows result…and the total picture cannot be seen.

Shadows and darkness have also been associated with things to be feared over the centuries. This is only right. An unwillingness to learn is indeed something to be feared.

Ancient wisdom speaks of the Ying and the Yang…opposing forces or opposites in our life. For every positive, there is a negative. For every darkness, there is a light.

“Shadows”, the publication, is meant to be a positive force, dispelling the negative connotations of the word as defined within the context of LIGHT and DARK as already explained.

Ronald J. Dayton 3-15-93

“No one knows what it is that he can do ’til he tries.”
Publilius Syrus

Stage Presentation For The Visible Vampire
Bobby J. Gallo

This is a presentation for the commercially marketed stage effect called “Visible Vampire” made by MAK Magic. However, it can be made to work equally as well with Abbotts Vampire Block or enjoy it merely as an interesting read.

I originally developed this to feature in one of the annual magic performance sponsored by SAM Assembly 168 (a tradition which I am proud to say “I” started in that particular club). This was a highlight of one of the better shows. Afterwards I was actually told by magician Joe Shade that the presentation was actually better than the trick itself! A high compliment indeed. Another truly humorous moment was when one of the members told me that his son was actually hiding underneath his seat as I performed this.

In retrospect, upon reading it after nearly a decade later, it all seems a little campy for me at this point in time. Not to say that I would not use it again. Now that we are here in the Halloween season, you never know, vampires do have a way of resurrecting themselves…<G>…


One of the most important elements needed to pull this stunt off in a convincing manner is the correct music. I believe I had probably the best possible score for this effect. It was called HYPNOTIQUE (5:37) from Music For Magicians, 1974 Electric Lemon Records. It was a stunning organ piece that would give you chills up and down your spine even if you were as brave as Achillies (Greek mythological hero).

Of course you need the prop itself which consists of a long rectangular box with a coffin cut-out shape in the front, a wooden block suspended from a chain with a red heart painted on it and a hole running though it that represented the vampire, and a wooden stake. The block could be lowered into the box and it was evident that the box was just big enough to accommodate the block with no extra room at all. Actually, in some ways the trick is not all that visible from the stage, but with the proper presentation, the audience realizes what is going on.

What does go on? It is basically a penetration effect. The block is lowered into the tube, the stake is thrust into the sides of the box through the cube and out the other side. When the chain that is connected to the block is pulled, the block penetrates the stake and is free. It really is a baffling penetration and is one of the few props of its nature that I intend to keep in my collection. Since it is a marketed effect, I will not tell you how it works. The purpose of this lesson is to give you an example of presentation. If you can get one of these little beauties, I suggest you do so. The nature of the magic business is that once they stop making them, thats it…period.

The Presentation:

(Music Starts)

Now ladies and gentleman, we come to a most serious and unusual part of this evening’s performance. Please hold the person next to you as we experience together, that which until tonight, was thought only to exist in the realm of fiction. I speak of one of the most malevolent species ever to be written about in stories best left unread. A timeless terror known to small eastern european countries, “who sometimes know better than we“, as Nosferatu’ The Vampire. (pause)

The Vampire is an evil creature who stalks the night in search of blood…and often succeeds. Do they indeed exist? I believe they may.* To prove this I brought along with me something you probably have never seen before. A genuine Vampire, in his coffin!

The Vampire has taken on the form of what appears to be a wooden block. Legend has it that a Vampire can take on virtually any form he wishes in order to achieve his desired goal. (pause, look at block and proceed to rub neck uncomfortably) You may notice that he is suspended from a chain that I purposely placed on him to better control his movement. But as you can plainly see, the heart is red and therefore still alive, very much so. But fear not good people, the Vampire is under my complete control tonight, and can do no harm as long as no harm comes to me. (sinister smile)

You may also notice that there is large hole running through him as well. Interesting, it seems that this is not the first time he has had a close encounter with this…(hold up stake) A wooden stake, contrary to popular belief, not just any wood will destroy a Vampire, only certain types.

Unfortunately, this is not one of them, but will serve our purpose just as well.

You will also notice that there is a hole in each side of the coffin itself. The purpose of these will also become evident in but a moments time.

I will now lower the Vampire into the coffin, we see that he just fits. No extra room at all. Lower him all the way down (the audience at this point can see the Vampire through the cut-out of the prop)

Now, I will take the stake, thrust it through the coffin through the Vampire, and out the other side! The Vampire is thus impailed. And thus, completely secured in the coffin with no chance of escape.

Or does he?

Ladies and gentleman witness the impossible, for as I pull the chain the Vampire escapes the coffin, visibly penetrating the stake and escaping! (pull the chain up, the block visibly comes free of the stake and out the top)

(Pause for applause)

So next time, when you are walking home alone, late at night, and you hear the faint rustle of leaves behind you or the distant patter of footsteps. Look over your shoulder, it may just be, the Vampire!

(Fade Out)

I know, I know, this routine is really heavy. If I were to use it again for some occasion, I would probably lighten it up a bit. The way it stands, it could conceivably give people bad dreams. But that is what people go to horror movies for isn’t it? And this IS art isn’t it? Is this the kind of entertainment that you would like to bestow on your innocent audience members? That choice it is up to you!

*At this point in my career, I didn’t really care about the fact that I may have been making false claims as to the authenticity of the magic I performed. Though today I would do things differently, I must admit that it DID have great audience impact. Its amazing how people will willingly suspend their disbelief to join you on your journey to the unknown…

November 1998

“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.”

Rope And Silk And Ring
Ronald J. Dayton

Quite a few years ago, and several years apart, two independent rope effects were created. One was called Rope Sue-preme which appeared in the Micky Hades publication Ropes With A Different Twist. The second was a rope penetration I called Zip, and it was printed in the Hades publication “Legerde-mine”.

RASAR is a logical combination of both effects. Together they create a series of on and off penetrations new to the world of magic. Just why it took me fifteen years to put together is a mystery to me. But I am pleased that it has finally happened…and I think you will be too when you put this amazing series of events to the test.

A very subtle handling of the silk used in the effect adds a new dimension to the illusion. It makes one phase of the penetration totally credible. In the eyes of the spectator, they have just seen the impossible take place. Everything is ungimmicked. All may be offered for examination before and after.

The moves used in RASAR affort the performer with four distinct effects. Although the method is very simple, it will take work to make your moves fluid and natural. Do not rush. Take things in a relaxed and confident stride and you will have a miracle at your command, any time, any where.

* EFFECT * 1: An eight foot length of rope has been tied into a loop using a ‘ Thumb Knot.’ This simply means that a single overhand knot has been formed by tying both ends as one. This loop is then doubled and slipped over the performer’s right leg to the point at the bend of the knee.

A solid three inch ring is rested over the rope at the top of the right leg. Suddenly, the rope, taken between both hands is pulled upward. The rope visibly penetrates the leg, and the ring is discovered to be tied within the double strands.

The leg is immediately inserted back into the double loop. This time, when the rope is taken between both hands, it again penetrates the leg…but the ring magically comes free.

* EFFECT * 2: The knotted loop is again doubled and the right leg inserted into same as in effect one. A silk is tied in an open loop around the double strands. When the rope is taken between both hands and pulled upward, the rope visibly penetrates the leg and the silk REMAINS tied to the double strands. Again the rope is placed around the leg, and on the second penetration, the silk comes free. Performer is left holding the securely tied double rope loop between both hands.

* EFFECT * 3 : Leg is slipped into knotted double loop. A silk is tied around the double strands. A ring is introduced and placed on top of the rope at the top of the right leg. Rope is taken between both hands. When the hands pull upward and apart the double rope visibly penetrates the leg. In the process, the silk comes free of the rope, and the ring becomes securely tied within the double strands. The leg is again slipped into the double strands. Rope penetrates leg, and ring once again comes free.

* EFFECT * 4 : Double loop is again slipped over the right leg. A silk is openly slipped under the double strands as before, and tied in an open loop around same. A solid three inch ring is now shown and held in the right hand along with the knotted end of the silk loop. Both are rested on top of the leg for a moment. Rope is taken between both hands and pulled upward as the hands seperate. Rope visibly penetrates leg, and both ring and silk are seen to be tied securely to same. On the second penetration series, rope penetrates leg and silk and ring come free.

It would be best to begin the explanation of this four part effect by starting with phase number four, the last routine. It embodies and will demonstrate all of the moves necessary to accomplish the previous three.

The left hand holds the Thumb Knotted portion of the loop as the right hand grasps the loop at its bottom and gives the loop a half twist. The bottom portion is then placed into the left hand. Take this doubled rope in the right hand between the forefinger and second finger Fig. 1. With the left hand, grasp the two ropes which form the loop nearest the right hand fingertips. In one continuous action, the left hand raises its ropes and begins to glide to the left and toward the knot, Fig. 2. At the same time, the fingers of the right hand, using the right middle finger as a pivot point, swing into the newly formed double loop. This loop may be tugged upon in a very convincing manner.

As the right leg steps into the double loop, the secretly switched portions concealed in the right hand are ‘rolled’ off the right hand middle finger and held within the fist. When this section is pressed up in behind the right knee…elevating the leg just a bit will hold the Grandmother’s Necklace style break neatly at the bend, Fig. 3.

The silk is now shown, then slipped under the double strands at the top of the leg and tied in an open loop as in Fig. 4 using a standard square knot. Right hand holds silk loop at knot as left displays the three inch ring. Ring is now placed in ‘front of the silk loop, Fig. 5, all being held by the right hand.

Right hand gives silk a half twist, Fig. 6…and then places the silk and ring on top of right leg over single, unknotted strand of rope, Fig. 7. Right band fingers now grasp this single strand and pull it up through the center of the ring and silk. Figure 8 shows an exaggerated view. As the ring and silk rest on top of the right leg and the right hand controls this single unknotted strand which lies furthest from the knee…the left hand comes to the front of the leg and takes hold of the Thumb Knot.

With the back of the left hand toward the audience, and acting as a shield…the right hand slips the loop of rope it has formed over the Thumb Knot, Fig. 9. The fingers and thumb of the right hand pinch and hold the strands of their loop together about an inch and a half to the right of the Thumb Knot as the left hand takes hold of the Thumb Knot’s double strands. With an upward pull, the hands separate. The rope seems to penetrate the leg, Fig. 11,

Silk openly tied around the double ropes and ring suspended from same.

The illusion is quite lovely. The Thumb Knot holds the single strand loop securely in place…much like the knot and loop system of the fashion buttons ( Oriental style ) called ‘ Frogs.’

Immediately slip the right leg back into the double loop, the right hand secretly separating the loop and Thumb Knot arrangement. Knot and loop end are held at the bend of the right knee. This is shown in Fig. 12 minus silk and ring for clarity. Working together, the right and left hands give the rope loop furthest from the knee at the top of the leg a half twist, forming the smaller loop as shown. Right and left hand thumbs enter this small loop and also pass under the larger rope section loop nearest the knee. Fingers close around the larger loop loosely. As hands pull upward and apart, ring and silk will automatically come free and you will be left holding a genuine knotted double loop of rope between your outstretched hands.

For effect * 3 the silk loop is never given a half twist. The single rope section held by the right hand and slipped over the Thumb Knot passes through the center of the ring only. Upon the first penetration, the ring becomes tied on the ropes and the silk comes free.

In effect *2 only the silk loop is used in conjunction with the doubled rope. In this instance the silk loop IS given a half twist and the single strand of rope is pulled up through the top half of the silk. On the first penetration the silk remains tied around the double strands…and during the second phase it comes free.

For effect *1 The right hand pulls the single strand up thru the center of the ring then places its rope loop over the Thumb Knot. First penetration, ring becomes tied within double ropes…on second penetration, it comes free.

Experiment with these principles. Use two silks instead of a ring and silk. Use several colored bracelets. Find out what new combinations will reveal to you. RASAR may yet contain some hidden secrets.

December 1998

Look Familiar? To veteran I.C.O.M members it should. This was the effect that was formally included free with new memberships. But now with the current re-structuring of membership plans and due to the fact that brand new members have not yet see it, coupled also with the fact that this is a “pychic effect” that after all is what this forum is dedicated too,…..Here it is!…BJG (boy, talk about a run-on sentence, Oscar’s going to be angry<G>)

Tick-Talk Code
Ronald J. Dayton

This one of the most simplistic coding methods employing a confederate that I can think of. To the best of my knowledge, it is original.

The reason for using a confederate to handle the coding rather than your assistant is that the effect is designed to be performed for a smaller, more intimate setting. You would likely do the effect for a handful of friends seated around a card table. One of the friends, seated to your immediate left, is your secret helper.

While you are out of the room, as per your instructions, a card is selected from a deck, shown around, then shuffled back into the deck and the cards replaced in their case. When you return, you take your seat. As the card is concentrated upon the performer attempts to pick up its image from the thoughts. Eventually, he is able to name the chosen card.

The secret to this effect is that your confederate is wearing a stem type wind-up wrist watch. The stem is already pulled and the time is set at one o’clock. For the code, the hour hand, times one through four o’clock tells the suit….SPADES, HEARTS, CLUBS and DIAMONDS. This is based on the number of points and rounds in the geometric shape of the given suit. The spade has one point, the heart has two rounded sections, the club three rounds, and diamonds have four points. This was a concept utilized by Richard Osterlind.

The minute hand codes the value of the suit, Ace (1) through Queen (12). For the Kings, only the hour hand is used to tell the suit. The value ( king ) is coded by a subtle shift in hand position.

For the cards Ace through Queen, the confederate is seated in a relaxed position with arms on the table in front of him, right hand on top of the left. In the case of a king being coded, the left hand is on top of the right. Except for this small change, the positions are identical.

Being seated to the confederate’s right, it is an easy matter for the performer to glimpse his watch and hands. All information he needs to divine any one of fifty-two cards is given to him without movement or speech from the secret assistant.

After the card has been chosen and shown, as it is being shuffled back into the deck and cased, the confederate casually uses the thumb of the right hand to spin the hands of his watch to the proper time to reveal the card. He then positions his hands in front of him, and awaits your return.


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

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

Kid Show Konservatory 1/99-3/99


January 1999

The Sandwiched Card Trick*
(A Final Bite)
Bobby J. Gallo

For those of you that have been following the bizarre premise here on I.C.O.M of having a freely selected card appear between two slices of bread, you are in for a yet another take on this ‘savory’ premise. You may also be wondering why this is appearing in the Kid Show Konservatory and not in the Advanced Lab where the others reside?

There are two answers to that question. The first is that I have been using this routine for a number of years in my current family show! It is geared to all ages and that is one reason why it is here. The second is that my method, as much of my magic is actually too simple of a method to be considered “advanced”. Yes, my presentations are usually more advanced than most magician’s, (I find it gratifying to think for myself instead of using the classic cookie-cutter presentations) but the technical workings must be made “automatic” or the routine becomes impractical for the vast number of shows that I perform annually.

So with the introduction out of the way, let’s take a look at the effect and you will see why I use this item in every show except pre-schools. Why not pre-schools you ask? Well, think about it. Do toddlers know what a deck of playing cards is? Do they know that a deck consists of fifty-two cards, each one different?…..No, they do not. So this trick would mean nothing to them. However, I must say that when there are very young ones present in the audience, they ARE entertained by the presentational aspects of the routine if not by the magic itself. But in almost every other situation, this trick is a sure-fire, almost self-working, killer effect.


The magician states that he will do one of the most spectacular card tricks ever invented. He shows the deck around and has a card selected and returned to the deck. The deck is then legitimately shuffled and cut many times by as many members of crowd as they wish. The card really is lost!

The magician then states that he gets three chances to find the card behind his back or the spectator wins a fabulous prize! (the challenge aspect makes this an attention getter)

The performer places the deck behind his back and with the look of great concentration takes out a card and proudly displays it to the audience. But to his dismay the crowd eagerly states that it is the wrong card! (I know that this premise is similar to the spelling trick ploy described last month in the beginners study but that trick is for close-up and this is for stand-up. The two tricks never appear in the same program)

The magician tries a second time with the same result. When the third time has a repeated outcome, the magician concedes that he must give the spectator the prize. Upon reaching into his case he take it out, a week old sandwich! After the laughter subsides the magician states that this is no ordinary sandwich but a magical one.

You see, (as he pulls the sandwich out of the paper lunch bag that is resides in) he says. this is not real bread, it is made of sponge, and this in not luncheon meat, it is a silk handkerchief. And we do not put mustard or mayo on the sandwich we put…….A playing card?

The magician looks inside and pulls out a playing card. Slowly turning it over it is seen that it is the very same card the the spectator selected!

Well, the spectator did not get the prize but they did get a dynamite piece of entertainment!


All you have to do is force a card. (see October Beginner’s Study for the Forcing Primer) Have a duplicate of the card forced in the fake sandwich. The rest is just pure showmanship.

You can obtain the fake sandwich in two ways, first, there is a trick currently marketed that has the necessary foam slices of bread, but also many magic shops stock joke sandwich items. Any one that you can put a card into will work. Also, pet stores sell rubber bread slices sold as doggie chew toys, these could work great too, though I have never tried them.

As a final note, it is important to put the sandwich inside a paper lunch bag. This is the equivalent of a sealed wallet as in the popular card to wallet effect. It is also another object the audience can relate to and that is important.

*With respect to the trick originated by Ronald J. Dayton

February 1999

The Ultimate Show
(according to me)
Bobby J. Gallo

Here we are in February, just after the holiday season that any pro or semi-pro knows is the absolute busiest season of the year. Literally dozens of shows are performed in the month of December alone!

Looking back upon this past season, I have strengthened my conviction that virtually the only way I could have and indeed did survive the onslaught of gigs was to put into practice the very theory that I talk about in the “Command Magic (TM)” Cyber-Magic Text Book found in the I.C.O.M Library. And that is the act of packing small and playing big.

It’s actually amazing to me that in looking back, I calculated that more than half but not quite 9 out of 10 shows would have been IMPOSSIBLE for me to perform in were it not for the fact that I carry my entire stand-up act in a black catalog case.

I mean that sincerely. Even if all I had was ONE suitcase table I could have not done certain jobs. During this past season I have walked city blocks in the freezing cold, have been directed up and down numerous flights of stairs, have been put into corners of restaurants and rooms with only a few feet between me and the audience. And the list goes on and on and on and on. In other words, I have been put into situations where there could have been NO WAY to lug in so much as a suitcase table or the like. Upon leaving these gigs I could not help but wonder how the other magicians were able to do it……if indeed they were doing it at all.

It seems as time goes on, less and less consideration is being given to the need of the entertainer. Even when you try to get information beforehand you find out that the agent booking the party hasn’t a clue (usually the case) or the host/hostess of the party is equally in the dark as to what needs be done.

The only way to handle these unknown circumstances is to have an act that can play in virtually all of them!

There are pros and cons to this. The pros are that you will be able to work effectively in virtually any situation. The con is that you cannot use all of the fancy toys that we have all purchased in our favorite magic shops.

It is indeed possible to put an effective act together using what I term Command Tricks and the following is an outline of my CURRENT act that I use for just about everything. I hope it helps you in YOUR quest of developing your own professional quality act.

  1. Single Silk Routine*
  2. Sponge Ball Routine (Yes, I do it for stand-up performances)*
  3. Egg Bag Routine (for my complete routine, see the I.C.O.M Archives)*
  4. Ring & Rope (for my complete routine, see The Bobby J. Gallo/Bill Wisch Lecture)*
  5. Multiple Silk Routine (again, see The Bobby J. Gallo/Bill Wisch Lecture)*
  6. Streamlined Rising Egg or Comparable Effect (See I.C.O.M Archives)
  7. The Sandwiched Card Trick (Bobby J. Gallo version, see last month above!)*
  8. Jumbo Card Trick
  9. Silk Knotting Routine followed by Silk/Wand Penetration (Coming to this forum soon!)*
  10. Spring Animal Routine
  11. Blendo Effect
  12. Spirit Slates
  13. Extra: Thimble manipulation.*
  14. Encore: The Eleventh Finger (See this months beginner’s study)*

Two things I would like to point out concerning the routines you see here.

  1. EVERY routine is hand held. There is no need for a table of any kind when working this show! All that is needed is a chair to place the bag on that I stand in front of (I borrow the chair at the gig). When one trick comes out, I perform it, it goes back in and the next comes out and so on. At the end, it is zipped up and I am packed up in less than a minute!
  2. Many of these routines can double as close-up items (noted by the *). This is VERY important when the agent booking the engagement fails to ask the client whether or not this is a stand-up show, and when you arrive the customer tells you that you are roving instead of performing for a large group. This happens a lot.

That’s it! This is what I make my living with and as you can see, it contains a little bit of everything and can run an hour if need be. After almost a decade and a half of professional performing, this is what I have learned and developed.

Though the show itself is my own, the general idea and format of this show is not entirely my original creation. Years ago I found that many of the classic supper club magicians of the past used this same pack small, play big concept. A booklet entitled Programmes of Famous Magicians by Magic Inc. is suggested reading.

Now it is up to you to develop your own style and routines. May this give you the inspiration you need.

March 1999

Do You Pull A Rabbit Out Of A Hat ?
Bobby J. Gallo

This is a follow-up to last months piece on traveling with a practical show. But also addresses other current issues as well.

It seems that magicians today are faced with confronting a stereotype every time we are engaged to perform at a professional venue. As a full-time professional, the same questions are repeated over and over when prospective clients call me for a job. The problem is, most of these questions are what people ASSUME all magicians do nowadays. The reality, however, can be quite the contrary.

The following is a list of commonly held beliefs of what magicians perform, and what they perform with through the eyes of the lay public. If you perform magic for money. You will immediately see the truth in these examples. If you don’t, it will give you valuable insight into what the public considers professional magic to be.

  1. Do you pull a rabbit out of a hat?
    The classic trick of all magic… This imagery has been drilled into the minds of the public so much, that to them, it is hard to imagine a magic show without the performer doing this feat. It amazes me however that most do not realize that in all of the television special of magicians doing their magic. You NEVER see this being done. Yet the question is always asked.
  2. Do you use a “live” bird or rabbit?
    While there are still a handful of magicians that DO still use livestock. Most do not. I prefer the artificial “spring” animals in my act. Yet the public still thinks that a live rabbit that just sits there motionless after being produced may still be more entertaining than a prop animal that can do amazing and funny things including actual tricks….go figure.
  3. Do you twist up balloon animals?
    Read the archives for my thoughts on this anomaly. It still makes me wonder how these got into actual magic acts anyway? Guess the same way juggling did <G>!
  4. Do you come dressed as a clown?
    ??????????????? Then again, I have seen some magician’s outfits that could conceivably fit into this category. And should clowns be doing magic anyway? Now there is a discussion!!!
  5. What do you give out to the kids?
    Since when did the magic act become a part-time toy outlet? Yet this is asked, time and time again.
  6. How many props do you bring?
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the classic image of the magician was this mysterious character that roamed around with his “bag of tricks?” Sorry, I’m not a traveling magic shop.
  7. Do you wear a tuxedo?
    I realize that the tuxedo is a time-honored symbol of magic, and I respect those who wear them. And I have to say now that this is the least of what I think is wrong with magic. But is it really necessary to wear one when you are performing in a private home on a 90-degree day while uncle Billy is sitting in the easy chair with his ripped blue jeans and motorcycle t-shirt? You get the idea…

These are all issues the prepared magician must have pat answers for when called by a client. These are also issues that we all must face sooner or later or risk perpetuating false stereotypes that have plagued us since the turn of the century.

I will leave you with this thought.

Max Malini-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Nate Leipzig-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Al Koran-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Dai Vernon-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Tony Slydini-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Harlan Tarbell-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Joseph Dunninger-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Cardini-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Dariel Fitskee-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Keith Clark-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Frakson-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Paul Le Paul-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Ade Duval-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Robert A. Nelson-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
John Scarne-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 6.
Dr. Jaks-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5,6, or 7.
J.B.BOBO-Did not practice examples 1,2,3,4,5, & 7.

To the best of my knowledge, all these examples are true. Please correct me if you saw any of these guys with a balloon animal!

I could go on but I think the point has been made. Above are some of the greatest magicians in the past 100 years and virtually all of them traveled like I now do with a suitcase show and virtually all of them did not fit the present-day magician stereotype. Though MOST of them did wear tuxedos, it must be remembered that they performed in the classic cabarets and supper clubs where EVERYONE was dressed that way. I think that if they were around today, at least SOME of them would probably re-think their attire. Then again maybe not.

So the next time someone asks… Do you do ????? Tell them no and because you do not, they will get a better overall performance.


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing and publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.