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.

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

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

Kid Show Konservatory 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.

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 1/99-3/99


January 1999

We are truly honored and delighted to have yet another well-known magical personality in our midst. Neal Prete is one of Connecticut’s leading magic clowns. He performs for children as well as adults. Every Wednesday he table hops at a nearby college.

He also invents popular magic effects and sells about one mile of super rope every month!

Besides performing, he teaches magic, clowning and juggling. A magic veteran of 37 years and of clowning for 22 years.

Neal Prete

As magicians, our objective in performing magic is to fool the audience. And not in a negative way. Not to be hurtful. They should be entertained and bewildered.

“How did they do that?”

If you are a great chef… you should cook a great meal. If you are a comedian.. you should be funny. If you say you are a magician, your magic should be strong.

Here is an analogy I came up with to make my magic stronger. Picture a ladder or stairs in the mind of the audience. Our goal to climb higher and higher up that ladder. The higher you go the more impressive the magic is on the crowd. As you keep climbing the magic will leave a powerful impression on the spectators.

There are many ways to get from the bottom to the top. Take the example of vanish of a coin.

If you were to pretend to place the coin from your right hand into your left hand and you open your left hand the coin is gone. But your right hand is held tense and awkward. The audience will look at your left hand and then to your right hand. They will initially be fooled. They were fooled at a lower level of that ladder.

Let’s go up a step. The coin is faked into the left hand and the right hand is natural. The audience is fooled.

Here is a high rung by Bill Wisch. Any time he pretends to place a coin in his left hand the right will always pull up his left shirt sleeve. It is automatic for him. He always snaps his fingers of the right hand. At some level, the audience wi1l translate that the coin can’t be in the hand because he was doing “something” with the hand.

Slydini would pretend to pick up a coin off the table with his right hand. In a smooth motion, he would drop the coin into his lap. Then he would pretend to place the coin into his left hand. He made a magical gesture and both hands are empty. Very high on the ladder.

I understand this as a simplified explanation. I believe all our magic can have a strong impact on moving up the ladder. The moves should be natural, timing is perfect, props an audience can relate to, original patter is some to the vehicles to get to our goal. Please feel free to add to this list.

A few examples of magic high on the ladder would be David Copperfield’s FLYING. If you were going to fly by magic, that is how it would look. Not like Peter Pan. The hoops and glass boxes were added to make the magic stronger and more believable.

We already mentioned Slydini. Even if you knew what he was doing you were still fooled badly.

Juan Tamariz is another. He has his own analogy with a path to follow that will have an impact on your audience. It is called the False Solution method.

I recently saw a street performer in Florida. Nice guy. But he performed the Professor’s Nightmare with very thick ropes. The moves were smooth. Good job. Except I heard someone in the audience mention the ropes were gimmicked. The magician only fooled her at a low level. Of course, she was wrong. But in her mind, she was not fooled.

In the book, STRONG MAGIC by Darwin Ortiz, he mentions just by rolling up your sleeves while performing would increase your impact on the audience. It’s up your sleeve.

I hope this will. help in your thinking of magic. More importantly your performance. Any questions or comment please let me know.

You can write to Neal though The International Conservatory Of Magic

Dr. OM’s Treatise on showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part XII


As promised elsewhere in I.C.O.M. In This installment of Dr. OM’s Treatise, a simplified system for punctuation is presented at the end of meandering thoughts inspired by questions put to Dr. OM by Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch over a most pleasant luncheon meeting toward the end of September past. Bobby J. and Bill, you ask for a functional definition of CHARISMA. Dr. OM restricts his definition to THEATRICAL CHARISMA which is synonymous with PERSONAL MAGNETISM and STAGE PRESENCE.

CHARISMA is that elusive quality in an actor-magician which attracts, fascinates, and holds the attention of the audience, and appears to be innate rather than learned. In film and television which deal in close-ups, the attraction is effected principally by facial expression; on the broader live stage, CHARISMA is effected by the physical stage presence of the entire body, and body language, including facial expression. That is not to say that long shots of the actor do not occur in film and television. The image of M Pacino sauntering down a slope of the Sicilian countryside in Godfather I illustriously crosses Dr. OM’s mind, at this moment. The two media have captured body language charisma memorably in other actors such as Jimmy Dean, Marlon Brando, Carey Grant, and, certainly, in Sofia Loren–enough said. On the legitimate stage, make-up, lighting, and costume can transform an otherwise nondescript actor into an heroic figure. Even where charisma is not innate, the assumption of a persona, a character, can transfigure an actor who is commonplace on the real street. Of course, the actor must believe that he truly is the character portrayed, in order for the transfiguration to take place.

Charisma works upon the audience in the manner of mass hypnosis. Although a minority of the audience may be unaffected by the actor’s personality, the majority must be captivated by the personal appearance, voice, and mannerisms of the actor who is regarded as charismatic. Charisma on the stage is not necessarily charisma in film. Grand style actors such as John Barrymore did not fare well in the film. A film actor of the style of Jimmy Dean would probably not fare well on stage, unless an adaptation to the broader delivery demands of the stage were made. Much is to be attributed, too, to the prevailing audience psychology at any given point in time. Could the phenomenon of a Frank Sinatra occur today, that is, could he, Frankie, just as he was then amid the Bobby Soxers, without change, exert the same charisma upon a turn of the century audience. Perhaps, presenting the right image at the right time is influential upon charisma potential.

Charisma is differently manifested among different actors and different magicians, Think of the differences in charisma evinced by the undeniably charismatic actors who follow: Jimmy Stewart, Lawrence Olivier, Clark Gable Anthony Quinn, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, and Spencer Tracy, to list a few historic male actors. Let us not forget the ladies: Greer Garson, Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Rita Hayworth, Kathryn Hepburn, and Marlene Dietrich. And What about the very special differences among great magicians such as Keller, Thurston, Blackstone, Dante, Cardini, Dunninger, Scarne, Vernon, and Slydini. Something beyond sexiness made stars in those days. The greats were felt to be members of the audience’s very own families. Yes, it was the body and body language that did it, but something transcendent, too; something of the spirit, of a great soul.

Granted that there are baser forms of audience appeal which result in artistic decadence, but true charisma provides the audience with more than what it wants it provides the audience with what it needs, at any point in historic time. Charisma is the stuff of hero or anti-hero, as the time and the need may demand.

Dr. Om fervently believes that everyone possesses the potential for charisma: CHARISMA CAPAX (charismatic capacity). Charisma resides in the SELF, where the Hindus call ATMA and the west calls SOUL. The actor who can tap that self possesses charisma if he can learn to share it in communion with his audience, under the condition of mutual and interactive love. Manifestly, that actor materializes in his persona or character which is beloved to the audience in a family way and he is beloved because he is familiar. He reminds the audience of a father, a brother, an uncle transfigured, in fact, a unity of the soul stuff where everything is connected to everything else; where the audience becomes a unified family unto itself. Every human being can find this power if he can find it within himself. You can.

February 1999

The Glorious Ball and Vase
Ronald J. Dayton

In the very early years of magic…after, we were lifted from the ranks of alchemists and charlatans, and before the advent of many of the brilliant sleights we now take so casually for granted…many magic effects were of a mechanical nature. Props were painstakingly made by genuine craftsmen. Clock-work and gearing ratios, counterweights, hydraulics, and all the best of the sciences of the day melded together to create incredible illusions for wizards of that time. Finely turned products in wood were also available to those who could afford them. One which has survived in varying degrees is the Ball and Vase. It is a commonplace, standard piece of equipment in almost every modern beginner’s box of magic. Sadly, the allure and majesty of its predecessor have been lost…plastic injection having replaced lathe-turned hardwoods. But as in so many instances…the possibilities of the original concept are still present…and well-crafted vases in wood and brass are still available for a price.

Youngsters of the current generation are, for the most part, only aware of the basics of the Ball and Vase. In times past, inventors did strive to expand upon it…in some instances making genuine improvements. I firmly believe that modern conjurors are still capable of doing the same, given a bit of encouragement, and some general suggestions as points at which to begin their work. Some of the ideas I am about to present for your consideration may also apply to the Egg Vase which uses the same deceptive construction as the original Ball Vase.

Decades ago, creative minds created vases with hollow stems in which a silk could be concealed. Using only the shell section of the vase, sans the solid ball, a person could create the impression of pulling the ball from within the vase from below…transforming it magically into silk as this was done…then lifting the cover to prove the ball had indeed vanished. Various plungers and locking devices were also employed in early vases. Each variation served a specific purpose and expanded the range of the vase itself.

Perhaps the advent of plastic injection is a blessing in disguise for modern students of magic. Modern vases come in a variety of sizes and colors. They are inexpensive and readily available. They are also easy to work with when it comes to experimenting and making prototypes of new styles and concepts. One need not fear ‘botching’ a job, or making a mistake because the initial cost is minimal…and replacements can be had in short order. Plastic is also easy to cut and drill. Modern adhesives and glues also ease the task of making modifications.

You may be asking at this point just where I am going with all of this…and what ‘changes’ am I talking about !? The component parts of the apparatus number only four. The lower base, stem, and cup… the ball, the shell, and the top cover. What can we possibly do to modify anything?

What if…say with the Egg Vase, we carefully cut the half egg section from the shell piece and replaced it with a slightly larger than half egg section cut from a Weller Egg? What would we have? We would have a shell section, the dome portion of which could be pushed in or reversed to a concave position. In other words, instead of facing upward, the ‘egg’ in the faked shell section would be down inside the pedestal cup when positioned on the vase. A small or medium size genuine or even a blown egg could be placed over the concave rubberized shell. This gives you an egg vase that you can take the cover off of and hand for inspection…remove the visible egg, and later, show an egg back in the vase by allowing the Weller piece to convert to a convex position.

This is a little something I actually did for myself several years ago. It may inspire some ideas of your own along these lines. I cut the half ball section from a standard large ball vase then glued a flat disc of plastic over this newly formed ring of plastic. When dry…I glued a Red Sponge ball section which I had cut in half on top of the disc. I then replaced the solid ball in the vase with a matching whole sponge ball. These modifications allowed me to do the standard Ball and Vase, and to immediately into a Chicago Ball routine which is the multiplying Billiard Balls done with a special half shell and several sponge balls of the correct size. Using sponge balls also allows for the production of several balls from the same vase…visible shape or color changes . or even a magical segway to the multiplying rabbits if you wish.

Ball Vases could just as easily be modified for use as part of a Multiplying Soap Bubble routine such as marketed by Abbott’s Magic Company in Colon, Michigan. A Ball Vase could incorporate a hollow billiard ball, or Silk Production Ball in place of the solid ball. The currently popular Bounce-No-Bounce balls might also apply as part of a routine and sleight of hand switching and loading.

Invisible threads could easily be used in conjunction with lightweight balls, allowing the ball to float magically from the vase to your hand prior to a series of deft sleights with billiard balls.

In a combination of the silk ball, loaded with a silk of a different color…and a section of a round children’s balloon, of yet a third color and slipped over the hollow ball…a series of surprising changes are possible. The ball is removed from the vase…caused to change color by slipping off the rubber shell…then the newly transformed ball is changed into a silk. For a finale’, you vanish the silk, then lift the cover of the vase to reveal that a ball the same color as the silk has magically appeared.

A Hank Ball loaded with a measured amount of glitter of the same color would make for a spectacular transformation from ball to dust. A mouth coil could also be considered as a load concealed inside the ball.

Certain mechanical multiplying balls are hinged, and nest together to form a single ball…yet may be manipulated to produce the appearance of one ball between each finger of the hand. Consider these as well when thinking of the Ball Vase. Small crystal balls are used in unrelated effects. Why not consider tying them to the use of a Ball Vase as well. Given a little more thought, I am certain there are modifications and applications still to be found. One of the most bizarre to come to mind in recent times is this; Check the stem of the vase you are working with to ensure there is no hole down through it. If there is, seal it with a bit of calk or glue to make the bowl of the vase watertight. Next, using a small section of orange silk…glue the silk to the top of the half shell section of the vase. Do this in a manner so the silk appears to be sticking up as if it had been poked down inside the vase, and simply extends above the top edge. Lastly…fill the bowl section of the vase with water colored with orange food coloring. The end result is a vase that will permit you to magically transform an orange silk into orange liquid. Quite a surprise to the unsuspecting.

These are my thoughts on the Ball and Vase. I have presented them to you in hopes that they will assist you in thinking in a creative and divergent manner. Please feel free to make use of any ideas you might care about. That’s what they are here for. But stop to reflect on the material overall…and look for whatever new thoughts they have hopefully instilled in you.

March 1999

Due to membership demand (see, we do listen! <G> ), New installments of Dr.Om’s Stagecraft will now appear here first as well as be added to his cybermagic Textbook(tm) in the Library.

PLEEEASSSSEEEE read the following installment. it is the best one I have ever seen because as a full-time professional I immediately recognized that every word concerning the practical application of magic as a profession is true…BJG

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


Dr. OM’s dear vanished friend, Poet, and Anthologist, Oscar Williams, without lament, but as a matter of acceptable fact, was often given to saying that: “An Artist must starve for his art”. Mr. Williams, who brought his own friend, the poet, Dylan Thomas, from Wales to America, lived in a loft on the top floor of a partially abandoned office building on Manhattan’s Water Street. He playfully called the loft his penthouse–ah, the magic of poetic illusion. In fact, there did exist a tarred roof terrace, alluded to as the penthouse terrace; a make-shift kitchen with a table-top wrought-iron gas burner for cooking; a spacious general office room providing much place for books, paintings, plants, and friends; and adjoining private offices serving as bedrooms. There, with his wife, poet, and painter, Gene Derwood, the couple practiced their arts and lived the Bohemian Life.

Oscar Williams had left a lucrative career as a young genius in the advertising industry, in order to devote himself wholly to his art. The choice would seem to be between either starvation for one’s art or reduction to the role of “Sunday Painter.” Artists who unfortunately do not succeed in their arts; who do not achieve professional recognition, worldly acclaim, monetary reward, and fame, all too frequently end in bitterness and despair for having surrendered their lives to art without compensation. To some few, success matters not a whit; doing what the artist does is all that matters.

Charles Wideman, one of the founders of modern dance along with his colleague and collaborator Martha Graham, lived in a tiny room no larger than six feet by eight feet, located just off the entrance to his second-floor walk-up 14th. Street, New York City, dance studio. Certainly, one might expect that one of the great artists and founders of Modern Dance might have faired better than that, in his old age, but America does not especially care about artists and art. Charles turned out of his stable quite a few outstanding dancers, some of whom Dr. OM worked with during the time that he served as Director of Theatre, at what is now New Jersey City University.

In those days, the institution was known as Jersey City State College. When the college conferred the Honorary Doctorate upon Charles Wideman, it was a young Dr. OM who drove the dance master in from New York City to Jersey City. Dr. OM was then driving a Siata, a Spanish Fiat roadster, about the size of an orange bathtub. The older Charles, sitting beside Dr. OM, in the two-seater, died a thousand deaths, as they sped through the Holland Tunnel, with the top down. The young OM had never given the matter a thought, in advance, but a more proper sedan drove Charles home, after the ceremony; home to somewhat less than polite poverty, in the studio where Charles eked out a meager living, after paying the overhead.

Charles Wideman’s Christmas and Easter Oratorios, as witnessed by Dr. OM over several years of performances, were consummate works of art offered up as puffs of smoke, as are all works of performing art offered up, even when the life is camcorded out of them. In those days, there were not even camcorders. Viewing a Channel 13 documentary on Modern Dance, a few short years ago, Dr. OM was thrilled to see his old friend Charles cavorting across an expansive lawn with Martha Graham and her troupe: eternally young and forever dancing, on film. “An Artist must starve for his Art.”

As for musician’s Dr. OM has known too many geniuses, in their own rights, who had to hold down menial day jobs, in order to Gig at night or on weekends. When they entered into that other glamorous world of their existences, all seemed worth it, after all, but inevitably, as with Cinderella, there comes Monday morning and the necessity to return to the drudgery of their hum-drum struggles for their daily bread. Dr. OM knows a top Jazz guitarist who plays a night alone now for thirty dollars and a meal; a piece of Jazz history so abused is enough to make one cry.

Actors, actors, actors all over the place and unemployed; working at supermarket check-out counters for “what for,” because a real job or profession would seem to be a betrayal of faith that someday the break might come. There are writers who are teachers; teachers who are writers; and all manner of professionals: lawyers, physicians, pharmacists, engineers, businessmen, and professors, who in their heart of hearts are artists without a Gig.

The independently wealthy are more fortunate. Artie Shaw, for instance, was early on financed by two maiden aunts; Today’s most famous illusionist was supported for a time by his parents, as he prepared himself, after having rejected college enrollment or any other mundane endeavor. He served out his self-apprenticeship in a New York City loft, just as did the poet, Oscar Williams. If he did not starve for his art, he certainly sacrificed for his art. Success does not come cheaply, even to the super talented.

Which brings us to the subject of the rest of us. What do we do? Are the horns of the dilemma the two of either starve or Sunday paint; is there no middle road for the aspirant artist-magician to walk? The choices are hard because there are no guarantees, but such is the stuff that makes life a great adventure: the not knowing.

Dr. OM’s gut advice to the young is: “Provide yourself with practical security, my boy.” Lord knows, the responsibility of supporting a family, which does have a way of coming along, demands practicality; better to prepare for earning a living than to be found unprepared when the loving obligations to family arise; obligations which have pulled more than one young artist away from his art and cast him into whatever occupation he might find.

Time was, before the arrival of the media technology when the local firehouse had no choice but to hire a live band or magician for entertainment; when two and three a day acts flourished in vaudeville, night clubs, and after- the-movie live performances, but, T.V. cut the mileage off any live act, as the “jukebox” and its more recent counterpart the “Disk Jockey” have undone the live musician, and yet, there is nothing like the electricity of a live performance.

Decadence in taste is perhaps the greatest enemy of the artist. Jimmy Durante used to say: “Everybody wants to get into the act.” Standing cautiously on the brink of elitism, Dr. OM believes it fair to say that the diminishing audience attention span is the consequence of lowering taste and so many being so “into themselves” that they would and do upstage, even the best in the business, with their: “How great I am.” chatter. Where are the sophisticated audiences gone? Where has the appreciation of talent hidden? Artistically, it is solely the responsibility of any artist to hold his audience, just as Shakespeare, himself, had to grasp even the groundlings; economically, however, it is quite another story when the disappearance of the audience is causing the disappearance of the magician. The first portion of this article dealing with the other artists is for the purpose of not making the magician feel singled out for punishment but is it not a crying shame to hear about top-notch close-up artists having to perform at children parties, not by choice, as Dr. OM does, but out of econonuc necessity–it is not really the bag they chose and for which worked so hard and long to develop their expert “bag of tricks.” Dr. OM is not intending a gripe session here, but, rather, a reality facing. These days only a few make it in the arts, either because they are among the most talented and most fortunate, as well, or because they sink to the lowest level of mass appreciation: the soap opera double-take syndrome and raucous rap.

On the more positive side, there are the casinos, the corporate parties, the hotels, the resorts, and the cruise ships, but the competition is fierce. Futurists are predicting that in the century ahead automation and robotization will allow a great deal of leisure time, even among the working classes, and that service industries, including entertainment, will be at a premium. Some of us are young enough to wait for that advent.

As a professor, Dr. OM has managed throughout the years to combine his vocation with his avocations; perhaps the teaching profession is still the best place for such a combination. There has for forty-two years been a place in his teaching for writing, magic, music, directing, acting, and plastic arts. His life has been joyous, especially because the art of teaching, itself, is the one of his great passions which has allowed the pursuit of his other artistic passions. Thus has he found the fortuitous solution to his own dilemma. Call him Lucky.Dr. OM, therefore, optimistically urges the young artist to deliberately, not accidentally, find that vocational passion which will accommodate his other artistic passions. Leave nothing to chance. Plan for a future profession or occupation which will be compatible with the practice of the art of magic. Take note, for instance, of I.C.O.M Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch having identified a place for magic among business and professional members’ vocational activity. If you are going to be or if you are a magician, you know that you must use your imagination, so put your imagination to work in plotting your magical course through life. You CAN do it.


The Brainstorming of two Magician’s

They’re Baaaaaaack!

Looks Like we have yet another installment of I.C.O.M-versations! This is a continuation of ideas using the “Open-Back Back” concept described in the following archives..

10/98: I.C.O.M-versations #1, “The Open Back Pack”, 11/98: I.C.O.M-versations #2, 12/98: I.C.O.M-versations The Brainstorming of two Magician’s POST- CONCLUSION,

E-Mail #9

Cool stuff!

Instead of moving the case downward, for the forehead card rise, try closing your eyes tight as if concentrating. Place the box against your forehead and open your eyes wide as if in revelation, raising your eyebrows (and forehead) at the same time. This will cause the card to rise with no perceived movement.

Here’s something else that just popped in: Glue the cutout portion of the box to the back of a joker. If this card is on top of the deck, it will automatically plug the box opening, allowing both sides to be very freely shown. When the deck is removed, discard the jokers to the side and the deck is clean, along with the box being ready for any of the
other uses.

Jeff Campbell

No way, no way am I going to say the end this time <G>!!!…BJG


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 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 1/99-3/99

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

January 1999


It is with a great sense of pride that this month’s offering is presented. I believe you will find “Blended Bands” to be the ultimate “finale” to the “Crazy Man’s Handcuffs” routine, or as a strong, visual piece of impromptu magic which stands well on its own.

The effect is one of two rubber bands becoming linked, then magically blending into one single band held at your fingertips. Jeff Campbell, the owner of The Joke Shop in Waukesha, Wisconsin, is the creative genius behind the effect. A long-time friend, Jeff has been most generous, indeed, in consenting to share his latest pet effect. During a visit to his shop several months ago, Jeff performed his band routine for me. It was incredible and fooled me completely. Like watching Monday Night Football, I asked if I might see an instant replay. The second time around was even more baffling than the first!

There’s no doubt in my mind that you will thank yourself for taking the time to read The Advanced Lab this month. Here are the 12 simple steps used in creating the total illusion.

Figure 1. Starting position. One #16 band is stretched between the thumb and first finger of each hand. During the instant in which the spectator’s gaze is diverted from your hands, a series of fluid moves take place.

Figure 2. The left-hand approaches the right-hand palm. The back of the right-hand shields the action from the spectators.

Figure 3. The left-hand fingertips tilt downward, secretly releasing the band.

Figure 4. The left hand immediately pivots to a palm-up position, and the thumb and first finger are inserted into the right-hand band.

Figure 5. The left-hand pull away from the right-hand palm.

Figure 6. The left hand begins giving the band a clockwise twist

Figure 7. At the completion of this twisting action, the band should appear as illustrated. The left hand is moved up and down, creating the illusion of freedom of movement between the two bands.

Figure 8. As this “rubbing” action between the two bands continues, the hands begin to part.

Figure 9. The right hand rotates to the position shown as the hands part. The bands now appear to be linked, one within the other. The right-hand thumb and first finger are now inserted into the loop, taking A at a, and Bat b.

Figure 10. The pretended transfer of the left-hand band creates a convincing image shown.

Figure 11. The left-hand thumb and first finger grasp both band sections, pull them free of the right hand, and display them. With a gentle rubbing motion…

Figure 12. A startling transformation is revealed. The doubled loop is allowed to untwist, one end falling free. Suspended from the left-hand thumb, the two bands have seemingly blended into one long band. The hand is otherwise empty, and you are left clean.

You will need to work with this handling until a sense of relaxed confidence is achieved. There must be no hesitation on your part during its performance. Each move must be smooth, well-timed, and fluid. Your efforts will be rewarded many-fold. Jeff has performed this effect close-up, and also as part of “walk-around” performances, always with great success.

Now that you’ve read this far, and have studied the drawings, maybe you’d like to take a few minutes out of your day to drop Jeff a line. I’m certain he’d appreciate hearing your comment /suggestion. The address is: Jeff Campbell, do The Joke Shop, 265 W. Main Street, Waukesha, WI 53186. Thanks, Jeff!

February 1999

Another Opening Stab
Mike Fordice


Steve Beam’s “Opening Stab” is presented on Michael Ammar’s Easy to Master Card Miracles #3. When I saw the effect, I was interested in and began working with it. What I’m presenting is a modification of the effect that I find to be quick and effective.

For teaching purposes (and to agree with the photos) we’ll use the following setup. Place the 4 of diamonds (4D) on the face of the deck. On the top of the deck place the 2 of diamonds (2D) and then the 3 of diamonds (3D) on top of that.

So the set up (holding the deck face down) is 3D, 2D, rest of deck, 4D on the face.

What You Do:
Begin with any false shuffles and/or cuts that retain the top and bottom of the deck. Force the top card of the deck (3D) by your favorite method (I couldn’t resist!). I use J.C. Wagner’s Slip Force (described on Doc Eason’s Bar Magic video, vol. 2). Request the spectator not to show the card to anyone and to return the card any place in the deck he desires. Have him place it so that it sticks out about half the length of the card (Photo #1). Make it very clear that the spectator decided on the position of the card. Allow him to move it up or down into another position.

Photo #1

Hesitate for a moment (a little acting here) and tell him that you’ve decided to let everyone see the card. To reverse the card you will perform Bill Simon’s Prophecy Move (The Effective Card Magic of Bill Simon, 1952). As in Photo #2, with your palm up right hand grab all the cards above the protruding card.

Photo #2

Turn your hand towards your body and clip the protruding card with your thumb (Photo #3).

Photo #3

Turn your hand away from your body (Photo #4) and place the (formerly) bottom portion of the deck on top (Photo #5).

Photo #4

Photo #5

You have effectively cut the deck and reversed the selection. Push the selection into the deck and say that there is, of course, one face-up card. Fan the cards to show this (Photo #6).

Photo #6

Describe (again) that the position to which the card was returned was totally determined by the spectator. Remove the face up card and the 2 face down cards on either side. Place these on the mat; place the deck aside. Reveal that even though the position was random, the spectator placed the card in perfect sequence; 2D, 3D, 4D (Photo #7). Congratulate the spectator on his great job!

Photo #7

Well there you have it! Here’s a couple of additional ideas for this effect. While working with this, I noticed that it is fairly simple to get into this in an impromptu fashion. You can almost always find at least 2 of the cards you need for the set up close to the bottom of a shuffled deck. For example, I just took a shuffled deck. The bottom card is 8S and the fifth from the bottom is 10S. So all I need to find is 9S. The 9S was about a quarter of the way up the deck. Get all 3 to the bottom; set the highest card (10S) on the bottom; the lowest (8S) on the top, and the middle value (9S) on top of that. You’re set to go. Play with this; interesting in itself!

And finally we have the Casino or Blackjack version of the effect. Use the 6, 7, and 8 of any suit. Not only is the selection in perfect sequence, but the 3 cards add up to 21; a sure winner!

Also, special thanks to my wife, Tanya, who took all the pictures with our new digital camera. She thinks this version beats the heck out of the original.

March 1999

The Power of the Shadow
Mike Fordice

This is an effect I’ve known for years, but don’t have any idea to whom it really belongs. Maybe someone will be able to tell us who originated this idea. It uses one slight; the Elmsley Count. When I first saw it, I remember thinking that this effect will convince you to learn the Elmsley Count if you don’t already know it. The effect is basically a transformation. So, grab your cards and let’s take it for a spin.

Set up
The effect uses 8 cards. I perform it with the sixes and nines. Remove the sixes and nines from your deck and separate them into red and black (any order). Place the 4 red cards face down to your left in a small spread. The 4 black cards go to the right, also in a small face-down spread.

Note: The following photos are from the performers point of view.

Phase I
Switch the second card from the 2 spreads. (Take a peek and you¹ll see that the left group is now red, red, black, red while the right group is black, black, red, black‹perfectly set for the counts.) Loosely close the 2 spreads and cast a shadow over the 2 piles with your hands indicating that there is great power in the shadow. Now square the left pile, turn it face up and perform an Elmsley Count showing 4 red cards. Turn face down, spread, and place back on the table to your left. Repeat with the right pile showing 4 black cards. Even though you switched 2 cards, the groups remain all red and all black.

Phase II
This time switch the top 2 cards from each spread. This puts you back to the red, red, black, red position at the left and black, black, red, black at the right. As in Phase I, repeat the shadow and the counts to show all red at the left and all black at the right. Even though you¹ve switch a total of 3 cards, the groups remain all red and all black!

Phase III
This time, switch the lower 3 cards from each spread. Cast another shadow and tell your amazed spectators that even though you¹ve switch 1 + 2 + 3 cards for a total of six, that the cards on the left are now all black. Turn over the spread and display. (No count here!) And all the cards on the right are all red. Turn over and display. A total transformation has occurred!


Part of the I.C.O.M Philosophy is to bring you, not only new magic, but forgotton magic. The following was sent to Ron Dayton by a friend of his in the hopes that someone out there can recognize the inventor of this brilliant card force. In the mean time. Here it is for you the student!…BJG

The Lost Card Force
Ronald J. Dayton / Jeff Campbell

From the archives found in somebody’s basement, attic, or under the couch cushions.

If I could give tribute to the original creator of this idea I most certainly would, but alas, I can’t. Somewhere in history, some creative minds originated the following concept, but for now, I’ll just have to refer to him as the Great Anon. If you should have information as to the origin of this effect, I’d enjoy hearing from you.

This effect, which even lacks a name, is a great method for forcing a card either for a “prediction” or for any other trick where you need to know in advance the outcome. It can be performed with a borrowed deck (always a plus), requires only some good acting on your part, and a little careful instruction to your volunteer.

Here’s the basic effect: A deck of cards is fanned and casually shown on both sides. The spectator
is then asked to take the deck, and place behind his/her back. (If seated at a table, they may hold the cards under the table instead). They will turn the top card over (remember…they can’t see the cards, you can’t see the cards, nobody can see the cards as this is being done) and place it in the center of the deck. They will then cut the deck one, two, three times (more if they wish). Next, they will place the deck face down on the table. The magician names the card that their face-up card is adjacent to. In other words, the magician will name the card they located when placing their card into the deck.

I hope you followed that! If not, follow the instructions, and just like the effect itself, everything will work out.

SETUP: 1. Turn the second from the top card face up in the deck.

2. Turn the second card from the bottom of the deck face up, and NOTE THE CARD IN THE DECK IT IS FACING! The face-down card it is facing will be your force or prediction card.

PERFORMANCE: Explain that you’re going to try a little experiment. Introduce the deck of cards and fan/split the deck as you casually show both sides. (Be careful not to expose the two overturned cards.)

Explain that to make the effect more difficult, no-one will be able to see what card he/she will be selecting. Instruct them to place the face-down deck behind their back.

Once the deck is behind their back (or under the table if seated), your instructions and acting skill will either make or break the effect. The following constitutes the heart of the effect:

1. Tell them, “I’d like you to take the top card and insert it into the deck, somewhere near the center.” While this is being done, keep right on talking. Give them enough time (as you talk) to finish their task, and then ask “did you do it?” They will acknowledge the fact that they did.

2. Here’s where acting and sincerity play a key role. You continue by saying, “okay, good! You took the top card (pause giving them time to nod their head yes), you turned it over, and placed it in the center of the deck…..good…….”

If you played this right, they should interrupt you by telling you that they didn’t turn the card over. When you get this comment, apologize for not making your instructions clear. No big deal!

3. “Okay, let’s start over.” (The cards should still be behind their back or under the table. Remember, now the top card is a face-up card position during your setup). “Take the top card, TURN IT OVER, and insert it near the center of the deck. Now, cut and square the deck. Cut and square again. And, one more time, please. Now you may place the deck on the table.”

4. The deck is now face-down on the table. You ask them “how are we going to know which card you buried in the deck?” Their response should indicate that it will be the only face-up card within the deck. You then ask them, “wouldn’t it be great if we knew the exact spot in the deck in which you would place your card?” As you say this, start spreading the cards to expose the face-up card.

5. When the face-up card is exposed to view, you continue: “This is the card you turned over and placed in the middle of the deck. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you placed it right next to the (name of card)?” As you say this, produce a piece of paper or napkin on which you had written the name of the “forced”

card. Let them see your prediction, and then turn over the card on top of “their” card. Of course, it matches your prediction. WOW!

Again, this is by no means a new card effect, but you would be surprised at the impact it has on an audience. You might also be surprised by the impact it has on many of your magi friends!


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 1/99-3/99

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

January 1999

Supersonic Mathematics

Bobby J. Gallo

When I was a beginner to magic, I shunned mathematical tricks. To me, they seemed very transparent and not very mystifying. As I got older and joined a few magic organizations, I was amazed at how many of my magical peers would fool me with this very genre of magic! It seems I was mistaken to think that this branch of magic should be overlooked. On the contrary, I now feel that all magicians should have at least two or three good mathematical tricks in their heads for impromptu and even formal show applications. Here is a wonderful example.


The magician asks a spectator to write down two rows of numbers, each row containing five figures….For example, lets suppose they write down the following:

2, 3, 6, 9, 7
4, 1, 6, 5, 2

The magician then writes down a third row of numbers under these and asks the spectator to write down a fourth. The performer tops it off with writing down a fifth! Pretending to go into a psychic trance, the performer takes a quick look at the figures and writes down a prediction of a piece of paper witch is then given to another spectator to hold.

“What I am about to show you is a feat of Supersonic Thought” says the magician.

“Computers are said to be able to perform thousands of calculations per second, but I am here tonight to prove that there still is no power like the that of the human mind!” He then asks the spectator to add the figures and call out the total. After the total is announced the magician asks the spectator to open up the prediction and read aloud the number contained therein. To everyone’s amazement, the same number just summed up by the assisting spectator!


When the magician writes down the third and fifth rows of numbers, he puts down numbers that will total 9 when added to the number just above it. Therefore, if the second row were 4, 1, 6, 5, 2, the wizard would write 5, 8, 3, 4, 7, for the third line. The 4 and 5, 1 and 8, 6 and 3, 5 and 4, and 2 and 7 all total 9.

If this is done, the grand total can always be figured out in a jiffy by subtracting 2 from the right-hand number of the first line and placing 2 in front of the first number of the first line.

Sound confusing?????

Here is an example:

Audience writes- 2, 3, 6, 9, 7
Audience writes- 4, 1, 6, 5, 2
Magician writes- 5, 8, 3, 4, 7
Audience writes- 8, 4, 3, 2, 1
Magician writes- 1, 5, 6, 7, 8

Total: 2 2 3, 6 9 5

With a little practice you will be able to do this quickly and without hesitation. The important thing is to make it look as though you are merely writing down random sums after the spectator has done so. Try not to make it look like you are adding anything in your head until the climax of the routine. And even then, do it fast so that you convince them that you have a computer like brain!

Ta Da!………………..

February 1999

The Eleventh Finger
Bobby J. Gallo

For those of you who may know this ancient magic trick/gag you may be thinking, “What is Bobby J. doing by making this old thing the subject of an actual lesson?” And for those of you who have never seen this before, after reading further you may think the exact same thing!

Before I go on, I’m am going to explain the effect, then the method. After that please keep reading, because you will not believe what I am going to tell you next!

Magician holds up both hands and asks the spectator how many fingers on both of his hands. The spectator naturally replies “TEN” The magician says “WRONG, I HAVE ELEVEN FINGERS!”
The performer upon counting his fingers proves his claim by counting each finger singly and slowly and comes up with ELEVEN!

Too easy for words! First, hold up both hands. Now you are going to start counting backwards starting with the pinky of the right hand. Grab that pinky and say , “ten”, then nine, eight, seven, six…..(stop here, you will notice you have exhausted all of the fingers on that hand) now hold up your left hand and say “PLUS FIVE EQUALS ELEVEN!”


This will be greeted with a mixture of laughter, moans, groans, and sometimes even puzzlement.

Now, remember when I said that I had something else to tell you? Well, how about if I told you that I actually do this in professional performances as an ENCORE piece? Think I have flipped my lid yet? Well, not only do I use it for just that, furthermore, it comprises about 10% percent of my 45 minute show! ALL WITH A ROUTINE THAT REQUIRES NO PROPS…..HEH…HEH!

Now let me explain to you how I get away with it as an encore. After the finale of my show, I ask the kids if they would like to see an encore? When they scream yes, I then tell them, that instead of performing another trick, I will TEACH them a trick that they can do themselves!… See where I’m going?

I then go through the routine and when I am finished, not only have I done an entertaining trick/gag, but I have given them an item that they will perform for their family and friends for months after the show. That gives me FREE publicity and I haven’t even exposed any real magic secrets in the process. It costs me nothing, works every time and there are NO PROPS!

How many things can you say that about?…. Hmmmmmmmmm?

Furthermore, at a very recent high profile private engagement I actually performed this trick/gag for corporate executives. How high profile you ask? Let’s just say it was in a private box suite at Boston’s famous Fleet Center during a recent Boston Bruin’s vs. Ottowa Senator’s hockey game, for very important clients of mine.

After I just blew them away with my Commando Four Ace Routine, I closed with this finger trick/gag. It got howls! And that fact that one guy didn’t even get it made the situation even funnier! It was a great way to get offstage…

Don’t overlook the value of trick/gags. The most famous of which is certainly, SLYDINI’S PAPER BALLS OVER THE HEAD. If played right, they have real entertainment value.

March 1999

The Pendulum Swingeth
Bobby J. Gallo

What I am offering this month is nothing short of a classic. the Late great Al Koran, who was one of England’s most famous mentalists made a feature out of this anomaly. For years and years, it has been used to tell whether or not pregnant farm animals would bear male of female offspring. And to this day, even though scientists have a pretty good grasp of how it works, no one is 100% certain of its modus operandi.

I’m talking about the pendulum. The apparatus is simple. All you need is a decent length of string with a weight of some kind attached to the end. This can be a fishing weight, a ring (which is what Al used) or anything else.When the string end is wrapped around the finger “once” and held motionless the performer can make it swing back and forth or in circles upon command and without any perceivable motion whatsoever!

What is the secret? The surprising fact of the matter is that there is none! It just works, plain and simple. Is it real magic? Unlikely, but it may come really close. Scientists think that your thought creates a physical reaction or response so slight that it is not readily noticeable even by the keenest observer. I tend to agree with this, but for years and years and years, midwives swore that this aided them in determining the gender of an unborn child. Also, the power of the pendulum has been documented as far back as the ancient Egyptians. There have been alleged cases of pendulums going into motion on their own without even being suspended from a finger but rather from a pencil balanced in-between two bottles!(this hasn’t yet worked for me <G>) So you never know!

Obviously there is a great close-up trick here by just making the pendulum swing. But with a little theatre thrown in, it can be made into a professional-quality winner. I will give one routine and leave you to develop more with your own creative juices.

Here is an example of how creative you can become with objects to use as a pendulum. I purchased this beautiful hand-blown glass bauble from a street vendor while on a performance tour. The colors in the glass and the gold chain it is attached to gives it a mysterious feel that helps to enhance the overall routines. Always keep your eye out for such props. It’s like finding treasure!

Now, how do we take this natural wonder and make it into an entertaining routine. Gee, just sitting here I can think of dozens of ways. And I’m sure if I asked Ron Dayton, he would come up with thousands of ways!!!!!

Here is a good one. Have a five of index cards at hand. Hand them out to four men in the audience and one lady. However, when handing out the card to the lady, be sure to nick the corner of the card with your nail so you can later identify it. Then have them all write a word on the paper.Not their name!

Have them fold their slips in half and put them on the table. Have another spectator mix them up. Then spread them out and without opening any of them. Casually locate the one with the nail nick. As you go over each card with the pendulum in hand, make the ‘effort?’ to have the pendulum swing in a straight back and forth line over the slips that belong to the men and in a wide circle over the one with the nail nick which is the one belonging to to woman. Always give the pendulum ample time to get going. Concentrate and don’t be in a rush. This not only helps to get the thing going, but adds drama to the presentation as well.

Then dramatically pick up that slip and show that through the power of the pendulum you have located the woman’s slip of paper.

Al Koran Presentation

Here is a brief outline of how the late great Al Koran used the pendulum as one of his most talked about table demonstrations.

In his now very hard to find book “Professional Presentations, Supreme Magic, England.” Al uses six people and six blank business cards. (there is a promotional idea!) He then borrows a wedding ring and ties it on the end of a piece of string. I personally do not like borrowing rings for fear that someone may claim that I damaged it in some way, but other performers are perfectly comfortable with it.

He then has them write some kind of word on the cards and has them torn in half and scattered face-down on the table. The pendulum is then able to match-up the torn halves. What is the method? Why the nail nick of course! Just be sure to nick both ends of the card in the same position before handing them out. This seems to me to be one of the best possible tricks with business cards. As a matter of fact, it may be one of the best possible close-up tricks as well!

If you can ever find a copy of the book mentioned above, it is worth grabbing. In it, Al gives his whole presentation including patter! Hopefully, someone will re-publish it. I consider it one of the top ten magic books of all time right up there with Dai Vernons treatise on Max Malini.

Pendulum magic has many advantages not the least of which is that fact that you can pass the pendulum out for examination for there are no secrets to find! Have the spectator try it and if they succeed, the magic grows ever stronger!

The only down side to this is the fact that at certain times it simply will not work and may need a bit of prodding….<G> Also, it is not a quick effect, you need to have a captive audience to proceed with a presentation like this.

For further study of pendulum use in actual magical routines I refer the reader to The Magic Pendulum By George B. Anderson, Magic Inc. This book contains an entire act using the pendulum and some slips of paper (my kind of stuff). Well worth checking out.

Try this, it can be a real reputation maker!

Mike is a good “Internet” friend of mine that I have known for a few years now. He is an executive assistant for the Microsoft Network’s Magic and Illusion Forum ™. Along with Melody Goldstein who is a fantastic webmaster over there. I recommend giving them a visit if you have an MSN account….BJG

Finishing Touches on
Supersonic Mathematics

Mike Durant

I like the simplicity of the Supersonic Mathematics, but just one suggestion that to me would make it seem more “magical” … maybe

What I was thinking would be to make a small sequence change. Rather than have two audience rows followed by a magician row followed by an audience row finally magician (i.e. a/a/m/a/m), I was thinking about a/m/a/m/a. It seems more … ahhh “regular” and the audience has the last line making it seem “fairer”? more “magical”?

The only down side I see to that is that the “key” row is the last row … and if the answer and the “block” are shown together (like when someone pulls the calculator to add them) the “resemblance” may become more obvious … unless you went from bottom to top … hhhmmmmm … wha-cha think??


Thanks Mike for those great observations. As always, if anyone has any comments, suggestions or improvements to the lessons, send them to us and we will publish them if they work….BJG


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

This entire page is under copyright 1997,1998,1999 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 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

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

Kid Show Konservatory 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

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

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

October 1998

‘Assembly Required’
(Thoughts on Routining)
Dynamic Dye Box Surprise
(A Complete Routine)
Bobby J. Gallo

Back around what seems like a decade ago, I toyed with the idea of publishing a book on magic for the family performer. Though it never came to fruition, I never forgot the one routine that I knew must be included if I ever “did” get around to completing that project.

However, with the advent of I.C.O.M, an educational need presented itself that far surpasses the mere inclusion of an effect or routine. That need is one that every performer will eventually find themselves spending endless hours contemplating on. That is the need for the knowledge necessary for they themselves to take individual tricks and assemble them into workable, practical, entertaining routines.

After all, what do most books and tapes do? They merely spoon feed the reader routines that have already been established or created. Sometimes that is good. Sometimes it is bad. The reason for this is that not all routines work for all magicians. There comes a day when you my fellow I.C.O.M’er will have to assemble a routine out of tricks that may have never before been presented side-by-side.

So that being said, the purpose of this work is two-fold. One, to give you a brief look at how “I” routine tricks in my own performances. Two, to give you the routine I feel should have been published nearly a decade ago.

The first question some may have when first reading about this subject is, “what exactly is a routine?” After all, it is a word we hear constantly and one we see all to often in general magic literature.

The I.C.O.M Magician’s Glossary defines a routine as: Routining: The act of combining individual magic effects to ascertain the best possible combination in an overall magic performance. So when the word routine is used within the context of magical performance, we are referring to the action of stringing together individual magic tricks, effects, sleights, or moves in order to create the most logical and entertaining sequence of effects in the minds of the audience.

A magical routine can take shape in one of three ways when looking at it through this perspective.

  • A series of sleights or moves used to make up the routine.
  • A series of presentational elements (lines, patter, mannerisms, etc.) followed by a single magical effect.
  • A series of independent effects strung together to create the whole picture.

In Magic and Showmanship By Henning Nelms, Dover 1969, pages 234-239 the author talks about continuity. And though he writes about it in the context of the entire act, I believe it is just as critical when constructing the individual routine. He does however give an example of the 20th century silks and I recommend reading his work for further study.

I though of many ways to relate to the I.C.O.M student the best ways to routine. I can go into all the psychological Fitskee-esq reasons for doing one thing over the next, but that serves little purpose for us here. I.C.O.M consists of students of all ages and my goal is to get the idea across in the simplest manner possible. The following is how to routine a series magical events. It is broken down to the lowest common denominator. All you have to do is…

Arrange the sequence of magical effects so that it makes sense…

That’s it! that’s all you have to do. If it sounds easy, then you haven’t seen the so many of the magic acts out there that make no sense at all! Magic can become quite boring and monotonous if the performer merely presents one trick…stops…picks up another…does it…stops…and so on. There is no real purpose to what he is doing other than the obvious fact that he wants to show off all the neat new gadgets he just obtained at the last magicians convention. This being said, the best way I can possibly teach you how to do this is by breaking down a routine I developed (which is by no means perfect, but it will get your gears turning) and that I call…

Dynamic Dye Box Surprise

Effect & Presentation: The magician shows a very small (6in) orange silk. He then asks the kids present what he should do with it? “Vanishing it would be too easy!” states the magician. “Changing it’s color? Nah! I could do that by spilling a little grape juice on it!” “I know…how about if I make it grow big?, really big!, bigger than the birthday boy/girl! The kids scream with approval of this idea.

The magician then says, “hmmmmm, to do this I have to put the little hanky in the dark.” “Where can I put it? I know, how about this?” The magician then pulls out of his bag and proudly displays a popcorn box!

“How many of you like popcorn? wow..that’s too bad, because I ate all of it.” Upon saying this the magician turn the box upside down and shows that nothing falls out. “What’s that? you want to see inside of the box? Ok, no problem, but only after the trick! The deal is, you get to see everything, but ONLY after the trick! why? You wouldn’t want me to ruin the surprise would you?”

“Now that the little hanky is inside the box, we need to put other ingredients in there as well to make it grow. Why do we do that? well after all, you can’t grow unless you eat nutritious foods right? So how can you expect a hanky to grow unless we give it some magical nourishment?”

“First some magical milk!
” The magician then takes a glass of milk and pours it into the box. “Now some magical salt!” He does the same with the salt. “Now, since we need some color, lets put in a carrot!” The magician then proceeds to take a carrot and places it inside the box as well.

“I’ll now close the box and shake.” I usually do this over the birthday child’s head. It is a scream to see the expression on their faces to think that at any moment they may be showered by milk salt and a carrot!

“Now lets see what we have done.” The magician now looks into the box and with great amazement, pulls out a 36 inch orange silk! (usually taller than the birthday child) “uh..oh.. I think we overdid it!” Says the magician, upon saying that he then opens up the box and a large bouquet of flowers pops into view as he lets out a loud gasp! The kids go crazy and the milk, salt, and carrot have all seemed to vanish. The small silk is nowhere to be found so it is assumed that it changed into the large one.

Thoughts: I do not use this routine anymore because of it’s only setback. It requires a set-up that became impractical for me once I found myself performing as many as five shows back-to-back on a given Saturday. But it remains a dynamite entertaining and logical routine specially geared toward kid shows.

Requirements: Though in I.C.O.M we strive to give you material where you will not need commercially sold equipment, for the sake of this lesson, and especially if you want to do this routine, here is the list of props I use.

  • A Tommy Windsor Pop Corn Dye-Box: The best investment you can make for under $5.00!
  • A Sealed Milk Tumbler or Milk Pitcher: Standard magician’s prop for making a quantity of milk vanish.
  • A Magic Salt Shaker: Various varieties are available. Same concept as the milk pitcher.
  • One 6in. and one 36in. orange silks. Ungimmicked.
  • One foam Joke Carrot: Available in most magic shops or as part of the multiplying carrot routine.
  • A Set of Paper Spring Flowers: Standard magicians prop that quite frankly, I never found a practical use for outside of this routine!

Set-up: The box is assembled and the props are placed inside in th following order:

  • Compressed Spring Flowers
  • The Large 36in. Silk

The exact working of these props are self-explanatory once you acquire them, but that is not the point here. Notice that these are all independent tricks that can stand alone if necessary as tricks in and of themselves. But with the proper routining, they meld together and actually become stronger when used in concert.

Everything makes sense. The silk goes into the box, then the ingredients are added. The result is a large silk as well as the flowers! The flowers are there because you accidentally made something else grow besides the silk! The climax has a transformation (the growing silk) an appearance (the flowers) and three vanishes! That is one powerful routine. And if you think the mystery suffers because you do not show the box empty at the beginning, guess again. I have used this routine hundreds of times and it is never questioned. The small to large silk, the vanishes and the surprise appearance of the flowers more than make up for the fact that they could not see into the box beforehand.

An additional note in interest is that after the routine, I always went into a series of silk manipulations with the large silk, thus expanding the routine! I recommend Rice’s Encyclopedia of Silk Magic for more moves than you will ever need in this department!

Also, if you do plan on using this routine, always remember to show that the silk is actually larger than the the birthday child by holding it up by the corner right next to the child. In a way, it actually gives the trick a sort of mini-grand illusion status. After all, you just made something appear that is bigger than a person! Think about it…

If you have any further questions of routining or if you are having a problem routining a certain sequence of effects for your own act, be sure to use your “VL” and we will be happy to give you some ideas.


Thanks to our resident scholar for these fine reflective thoughts on the Soda Fountain Act which appeared in this very forum on 7/98 and is now available in the Archives…BJG

Later Thoughts on The Soda Fountain Act
Ron Dayton

Dear Bobby.

I was re-reading your Thayer variation today.

Began thinking.  Thought perhaps the old coding method for remembering the colors in a rainbow might apply in some way to remembering the order of the color glasses you have on your table. ROY G. BIVRed, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.  Or, perhaps small self adhesive color dots behind each glass on the table might be a better idea.

I recall a similar idea which used a multiple fluted mouth brass vase. Each indentation of the fluted area had a drop of food coloring on it.  This allowed you to pour multiple drinks from the same container too…but in a different manner.  It would be so neat to find a fluted mouth flower vase in clear glass, and do the same thing.  I still have such a fluted brass vase somewhere in my old equipment.  Never thought of it done in glass before.  You got the wheels turning.


November 1998

Kolar Re-Visited
Ronald J. Dayton

Several months ago I decided to test a few thoughts I had had concerning the Kolar Straw and String effect, the trick in which a length of string is threaded through a drinking straw…the straw bent in two and cut in half with a scissor…yet magically, the string is withdrawn totally restored.

It has been many decades since this effect was first introduced to the general public. During the many years to follow, little if any changes or additions have been offered to the original handling. Taking the lead and inspiration from Tony Slydini’s Torn and Restored Cigarette…I have devised a handling for the Kolar Straw in which not only is the string restored…but the straw itself is restored as well!

Please study Fig. 1 very carefully. It illustrates a standard drinking straw, length A-D, which measures on average eight inches in length. This straw has been mentally divided into three sections. The shaded section A-B is the section of the straw which is concealed in the left hand. Area A-D is the visible portion of the straw which when bent in two at point C allows the slit, e-f to accommodate the string for the initial cut.

To begin with, I would suggest marking the straw you intend to work with at the three points with a marking pen. Use an X-acto knife to carefully form slit e-f as shown. Now, thread a twenty inch length of string through the straw Extending length A-X is approximately seven inches long, and end D-Z is four inches in length. Prior to performing the effect, length A-X is run along the outside of the straw at A-B. The string is clipped at the B bend between the left hand first and second fingers. The straw is held at B between the left first finger and thumb, and the remining left hand fingers curl in around, and conceal the rest of the shaded section. It appears to your audience that you are exibiting a straw which is approximately five inches in length, and which has a length of string running through it.

The right first finger and thumb grasp and bend the visible section in half at point C, swinging end D down toward the left hand where it is grasped and held in place by the left hand first finger and thumb. The right hand first finger and thumb then pull down on string end Z just a bit, pulling the string at the bend C down into slit e-f. Fig. 2. Prior to this bend and pull being executed, the straw has been lifted from a horizontal to a vertical position.

Picking a scissors from your table, carefully cut the C bend from the straw without damaging the string, Fig. 3. This done, the scissors are tabled.

The right hand first finger and thumb now grasp the short straw section near E, and the two sections A-C and D-E are butted end to end as they are simultaneously returned to a horizontal
position, Fig. 4. Under cover of the right hand fingers, end E is actually inserted part way into end C. Now, the final few moves are executed.

The right hand pushes end D to the left, seemingly pushing the straw sections through the left hand fist. In reality, length E-D is shoved all the way inside length A-C…then the entire assembly is continued to be pushed through the left fist until it emerges at the little finger side of the left hand.

The right hand moves to this little finger position, grasps end A, and swings it down and up to the right. In other words, end C is now being held in the left hand, well into the length of straw… concealing the fact that the straw is now in one piece.

End A is held in the right. The right hand now pulls on end X of the string, pulling it several inches from the straw. This takes out the fouled string which inevitably occures after E-D is inserted into A-C. The string may now be pulled freely back and forth within the straw….proving it to be restored. It is now that you announce not only is the string in one piece…but the straw is as well. The left hand moves to the far end C…showing the straw in its entirety. Your hands are otherwise empty.

The moves for this double restoration have been worked out to be as logical as possible. With care in handling, you can very closely approximate the same illusion as done in the standard version of the Kolar effect…then blow them out of the water with the totally unexpected straw restoration finale’.

Perhaps you will find handling variations of your own, or have suggestions on ways to strengthen the effect even more. I would most certainly welcome any additional thoughts on the subject. I would also be most pleased to hear your reactions the very first time you successfully perform this version of the classic effect.

December 1998

Magic and Balloons?
(The Great Debate)
Bobby J. Gallo

The nice thing about the current restructuring of I.C.O.M is that it now gives us a chance to include articles and pieces that do not solely aim to teach a magic trick persay. This is a very important topic and one that every kid show magician should consider carefully. It concerns the famous and sometimes infamous art of Balloon art, Balloon Sculpture, Balloonology, etc. etc. etc.

No one really knows where or why this became such an integral part of the magicians program, but it has and in a big way! Bammers, as they sometime call themselves take great pains to learn how to twist animal balloons into all kinds of glorious shapes that I admit, children really do love.

I have varied opinions of animal balloons. First off I must say that I think it is a wonderful art and I myself at one time enjoyed the “magic” of taking a long balloon, blowing it up (with a pump), and twisting it into what appeared to be a dog of some sort. I think it is a great gimmick, that should be given to an adult.

What?????????? Did I say an adult?…Yep, I did.

Recently I talked to an insurance agent for the entertainment industry. I was told that balloons are among the top causes of injuries to children and therefore will not insure entertainers who use them in their acts! Yes, you heard right. I was also told that at a recent clown convention (which I did not attend so this is heresay). There was actually a lecture that was concerned with accidents that may happen to children with animal balloons. Can you believe that??? I was shocked.

Children have a natural tendancey to put things in their mouths, balloons are no exception. They easily break and can be harmful.

That is not the only problem with them. Once they break they become rubber bands that some children delight in snapping at one another. This can cause eye injuries. And a balloon does not even have to be handled this way to cause that kind of injury either. I personally spoke to the owner of a party shop that was successfully litigated against because a balloon merely popped and caused the eye of a child to be scratched.

Why am I saying all of this? Because we care about our members and want everyone to be successful without the possibility of accidents resulting from products that may hold potential risks.

All of this being said, are there a ways to entertain children using balloons without risks? Well, while you can never eliminate all risks, there are ways to greatly reduce the chances of something going awry. Here are a few suggestions.

  1. Do not give the balloon directly to the child, give it to the parent explaining that the child with the balloons must be supervised at all times.
  2. Lecture the children before you start that they MUST NEVER EVER PUT A BALLOON IN THEIR MOUTH…..PERIOD. And of they are seen doing so , you will take it away immediately and once you leave you will instruct the parents to do so as well.
  3. I think this is the best solution for myself. Just make “one” as part of the show and put it away after you are done. After all, the magic is in them watching the performer twist it up, after that, it is all anti-climactic anyway. After the show, give them something that is safer like stickers of a flyer that they can color. Though nothing is a 100% safe handout when you are giving it to a child, I have not yet heard of serious accidents resulting from stickers or sheets of paper.
  4. Check with your insurance agent to make sure that your policy covers you for balloon animals. You may be surprised. Many magicians think that they are covered when in reality, they are not!
  5. Don’t do them at all, the proper place for balloons is on the end of a string anyway. And even then,…Be careful!

It is not our intention to frighten anyone or put down any desicion to include this art in childrens entertainment. We just feel everyone should know certain aspects about this subject. We think this article is a service to the magic community and would like to hear your comments.


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

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