Slydini Legacy 1/99-3/99


January 1999

The Slydini Rings
(A streamlined routine for the classic linking rings)
Bill Wisch

I have had great success with this and you may also…Bill Wisch

I had the pleasure to meet with Karl Fulves quite a few times while he was writing the Slydini books back in the seventies. We would discuss Slydini from time to time and share lots of anecdotes. Karl always had enormous insight in Tony’s work.

He briefly mentioned something one day concerning the Slydini Ring Routine that I never forgot.

Karl felt that the opening of the routine was pure genius and could easily stand on its own as a quick and surefire presentation…WITHOUT ANY KEY AT ALL! He felt that no key or switch was necessary to satisfactorily convey the “essence” of the Linking Rings effect to an audience and that Tony’s was the perfect example.

I took Karl’s advice one time when I needed a flashy opening at a trade show and needed to incorporate a “linking” premise into my presentation to highlight a product benefit. The results were excellent. There was a maximum effect with minimum presentation and hassle.


Have the rings set up from top to bottom as normal for the regular routine: Single; Three together; Two together; Single, and another Single.

Pick up the eight rings and say whatever you want. Then twirl the rings several times as with the normal routine. Also, count the rings out loud dropping each from left hand to right as done in the normal routine.

Take the single with the right hand and, after exhibiting it, slam it against the other seven rings releasing one of the three linked with the left fingers as done in the original routine. Then take the same single…show it…and slam it against the rings again, releasing the second ring of the three together. The effect is that each time you took a single ring and crash-linked it to another ring. This is also identical to the published Slydini routine.

Remove the three linked and hand them out to be examined. Then repeat the same procedure with the two rings linked and hand them out. Now hand out two separate rings to someone, asking them to try it themselves, and lastly, hand out the remaining single for simple examination. You are clean…they are examining…you’ve linked the rings together and there actually is no reason why you need to go any further. Collect the rings, put them aside, and go on with your next effect.

Simple? Too simple you may ask? Believe me, it works.

You wanted simple handling and if you want to add humor this routine allows for plenty without becoming too long or complicated in the eyes of the audience. It would be a great opener or fit anywhere in an act.

Personally, I always use Tony’s complete routine to close every show. I’ve made a few changes* to suit my style and situation, but the routine, including the figures, is perfect for me. Kids and adults love it equally and the fact that all the rings are handed out to be examined is the key (no pun intended) factor.

Give it a try and I’d be happy to learn how you make out with it.

Take care,

Bill Wisch

* to be discussed in an future installment of the “Slydini Legacy”. _____________________________________________

February 1999

“Believe It!”
Bill Wisch

This month I want to briefly discuss some of Slydini’s feelings on acting…namely believing in what you are doing.

Nothing was more impressive when you watched Slydini perform than the way he actually believed that what he was doing was actually real. He used to say many time, “if you believe it the audience will believe it.” There’s a lot of truth to that tiny statement.

Let’s look at it this way. Would you buy from a salesman that doesn’t believe his product is the best? Probably not. If a magician does something with no emotion or just seems to be going through some rote movements, I doubt if you would be impressed very much as well. Slydini could take any trick and “emotionalize” it. It was a joy just to see how he did that…just by believing in what he was doing. He could take an ordinary trick and make it into an extraordinary one. He believed he really vanished the object or made the object change, or whatever was called for in the effect. His body language and mannerisms were a well orchestrated machine and that’s a big reason why he could literally count on each and every one of his offerings being a show-stopper.

Think about each of your effects and routines for a moment. Dissect each part and honestly answer this question…do I actually believe that what I’m trying to do is really happening?

I came up with a thought that I used to say to myself when I had to exhibit previously taught material to Slydini. I knew he would correct me big-time if I didn’t believe in what I was doing so I used to say to myself…“do this as if your life depended on it!” I still try to follow that thought when I perform and find that it works well for me. It reminds me to pretend that if I don’t “sell” the effect there won’t be any “buyers.”

After a while it becomes a habit…just like method-acting. Then just about anything you do becomes “real” in your eyes as well as the audience.

I know this seems a bit obvious but I can’t stress how important this concept was to Slydini because he knew that it was probably more important than the trick or effect itself. As usual…he was right.

March 1999

“Slydini’s Thoughts on the Thumb Clip Vanish”
Bill Wisch

Hope everyone’s winter is going magically well. Here it is March already!

This month I’m going to briefly discuss Slydini’s thoughts regarding the Thumb Palm (really Clip).

Since I began lecturing in 1975, I’ve always tried to perform an effect at each lecture using the Thumb Clip and then pointing out Slydini’s handling and subtleties. He thought it was very important and I certainly couldn’t agree more.

The basic idea behind the sleight is to apparantly drop a coin from one hand into the other. In most basic books I’ve seen, the beginning of the sleight is taught with the coin held as shown in photo #1. The coin is held between the index and second finger making it easier to bend the fingers to clip the coin with the thumb (see position in I.C.O.M. Online Library, Figure #18, Coins sleights).

photo #1

Actually, holding a coin like this is totally unnatural to the audience and, if anything, telegraphs the fact that “something sneaky” is about to take place. Slydini would begin the sleight by holding the coin with the right fingers in a natural fashion (photo #2) and then

photo #2

bring the right arm up slightly and then back down (see arrow), during which time the coin is positioned between the index and second fingers and then clipped by the thumb ALL IN ONE MOTION! By the time the hand came back down the coin would be safely clipped (photo #3). He would explain it as a pitcher recoiling his arm back before he would pitch the ball. This was the same idea. The coin is held at the fingertips…the arm slightly raises and lowers (about twelve inches or so) and in the process two things quickly occur…(1) the coin is clipped between the index and second fingertips and…(2) the fingers bend in to allow the coin to be clipped by the thumb. All this happens while the arm is in motion (big motion covers the little motion)…then the coin is supposedly dropped into the waiting left hand…that’s it. By the time the hand comes back down (again photo #3) the total action is completed. If you make use of the Timing Techniques for this sleight, as explained in I.C.O.M.’s Library, the whole action happens between the first and second beat. The first beat is photo #2 and the second beat is photo #3.

photo #3

Then he would gently “crumble” the coin in the left hand and open it showing the hand empty. Just the fact that he did it in such a simple, natural fashion made the sleight valuable.

I believe that the reason most books show the beginning of the sleight incorrectly for coins is because most use of the sleight was used as part of cigarette manipulation. The cigarette is held between the index and second finger. Naturally, that makes sense because it is held that way to smoke it. But holding a coin or other object that way is unnatural and Slydini saw that and corrected the discrepancy immediately. Just another example of his taking any unnatural action, no matter how insignificant, and making it natural in execution.

I hope you give this some thought and practice. Many fine effects need an effective Thumb Clip. If you adopt this technique you’ll be very pleased with the results.

Next month one of Slydini’s table masterpieces that I call…“Sly-ding Silver”.


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

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

I.C.O.M 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.

Slydini Legacy 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

The Slydini Legacy-October 1998

Here it is folks! Worth the price of admission this month. The only thing I can say, is that is doesn’t get any better (or advanced) than this…BJG

“Five Coin Variation”
Bill Wisch

Magician uses an odd number of coins (five) in a through the table routine and under the guise of forgetting which hand has three coins and which hand has two, two of the silver dollars are passed through the table in a very convincing manner.

Line up the five coins in front of you about an inch or two from the edge of the table, separated by only a quarter of an inch or so between each.

1) The LH begins by stacking three coins one on another from the left to right. Put them as a stack in the center of the open, flat, right palm.

2) The RH turns over and holds the coins in a loose fist. Shake them lightly and in the process it will be fairly easy to have the two silver dollars now on top to move into a Thumb Clip.The fingertips contacting the base coin keep it from moving into the clip with the other two. Try it…you will see how easy it works with very little effort.

3) The LH picks up the remaining two coins on the table and holds them in a loose fist. Now you have two loose coins in the LH and the RH has two clipped coins and one loose. Say to the audience, “now I have some coins in the right and some coins in the left…(look confused)…wait a second…I forget how many are in which hand”.

4) Raise the LH above the table about 8 or 10 inches and open it as you say, “two coins in the left”. Pick the two coins up and ready them for the Han Ping Chien move by pushing them slightly through the fist using the thumb until they are at the edge of the fist. The fist rests on the table with the coins ready to be released from the bottom when the hand lifts.

5) Now follow this closely…say, “if I have two in the left…how many do I have in the right? Three, right?” Do the Han Ping Chien move and as the RH opens up onto the two coins from the left hand, the single loose coin joins them as the Right thumb continues to clip the two others. Now the RH comes back to the edge of the table and rests with the two coins in the clip hanging off the edge.

6) The LH, still in a fist supposedly holding two coins, lifts the three coins with the index finger and thumb up about 8 or 10 inches above the table and drops the three. At PRECISELY the instant the three coins hit the table, the two coins in the Right clip are allowed to drop into the lap. You say, “Three!”. The noise is covered completely.

7) Now the RH can openly pick up the three coins and clench them into a fist. Emphasize once again by calling attention to the right fist saying, “Three in the right… and how many in the left?” Hold up Left fist. Audience will say there are two in the right.

I find it particularly gratifying to hear the audience say two at this stage to an empty left fist because I am about to fool them mega badly and it somehow doesn’t seen fair…but all’s well in misdirection and war so enjoy yourself.

8) Now keep the Left fist above the table and bring the Right fist underneath. Pick up the two coins on the lap as noiselessly as possible with the index finger and thumb. LH hits sharply onto the table top and Right hand brings five coins from under the table, tossing them out onto the tabletop.

I originally came up with this to use in the Slydini routine to bridge between six and four and to just add the element of an odd number of coins. At the time (around 1974), to come up with something original that possibly had merit was certainly a goal and dream of mine. Slydini loved this variation and I’m proud to say that because he was completely fooled by the handling and when I showed him that it utilized his principles exclusively, only in a different setting, he seemed to get a big kick out of it.

I sometimes shudder when I think back about even having the gall to try to add anything original to a masterpiece routine…especially doing it for the master himself! I can only say thanks to Tony Slydini for being the kind of gracious and encouraging teacher…and person…that he was. All you fellow students out there know what I mean.

Next month…a two coin variation that he liked.

November 1998

“Hi-Dive Move”
Bill Wisch

Here is a truly, far-out move that I used in my lectures during the ”70’s Slydini book lectures. This is part three of my Variations of Slydini Coins Through the Table Routine.

This is a variation using two coins. In a clear and unsuspecting moment the dirty work is done and I do mean dirty work!

Both hands are palm up holding a coin in each. The LH closes around the coin and the arrn brings the hand up along side the head. The RH openly displays it’s coin at the fingertips…you lean forward, bring the coin to the fingertips and use it to mark an “X” on the center of the table as you say, “right here, not this coin…”, you lean back as you show coin…”but this coin”…gesture using the closed LH…”will go right though the table!”

Right hand goes under the table with it’s coin as you lean forward and bring the left hand over the center “X” marked area of the table. The hand opens up and bangs flat onto the table. No coin is there! Right hand brings both the coins out.

Everything is above board until the first time you lean forward with the RH to mark the “X”. The left hand works the coin to the heel of the hand as it is up next to the head so that it is just barely being clipped by the fingertips. At the moment the mark occurs you will be in a position to release the coin in the LH so it will fall down behind the forearm…hit the bicep…and bounce into the lap. The left hand and arm will lower considerably while you lean forward but the impression on the audience is that nothing takes place at all. Everything is hidden and if you don’t think this can work just try it. It is quite effective. I always fooled everyone at the lectures and if I do one that you attend, please ask me to demonstrate this Hi-Dive lapping move so you can check it out for yourself.

All the attention is on the table and the right hand coin. After you get the timing (which won’t take long) you’ll have a lot of fun doing this. Also the coin almost naturally falls into the lap because of the way the hand and arm are positioned. This takes practice as much as any other move but the hand never comes close to the edge of the table and the effect is quite magical.

Naturally, these days, it’s a rarity to be able to perform magic seated at a table. I would say I do about 95% of my performing in standup and roving conditions (excluding lectures) and usually any seated magic occurs under informal conditions at restaurants, diners, etc…

However, if you do plan to add the Slydini Routine to your repetoire then this version with two coins will fit perfectly into the routine as a follow-up to Slydini’s method (he had no idea how the coin was lapped even after I did the move several times during a lesson) There’s just no way the coin can get under!?!.

Next month my final variation with a single coin. It’s lots of fun and easy to do (great for acting practice).

December 1998

“Single Coin Variation”
Bill Wisch

This is the final installment of my “Slydini Coins Through The Table Variations”. It doesn’t get any simpler than this and yet this is an outstanding acting exercise.

Effect: You’re seated at the table and a single silver dollar is before you. You slowly and deliberately pick up the coin and put it over the “weak spot” in the table. The coin is gone and is brought out from under the table. That’s it…no gimmicks, no nonsense.

Method: Have a coin, preferably a silver dollar, on the table just slightly to your left, about an inch or so from the edge.

Now in order to pick it up with the right hand you would put the fingers on top and the thumb below the edge, pushing the coin against the fingers so the hand can lift up.

Try this. Put the thumb on top. Instead of clipping the coin against the fingers your thumb performs a different action…it slides the coin back to the edge of the table allowing it to fall into the lap. The action is covered by the fingers. You’re looking at the audience.

After the coin drops, bring the thumbtip up to the fingers as you bring the hand up pretending to be holding the coin. As the audience sees it, the action of sliding the coin backwards uses the same exact amount of motion you would use to put the thumb under the edge and pick it up. They really don’t pay any attention at this point.Try it next time you’re seated at a table.

It is a totally foreign move at first but try doing it over and over until the hand and arm motions mimic picking up the coin. You get so natural at it that you can use it anytime with other objects as well. It becomes second nature and is, in my opinion, one of the most deceptive moves I use.

Sometimes, depending on the surface, it’s a little difficult to slide the coin with the thumb on top so just put the thumb in front of the edge furthest away and push it back. Same thing…same motion. Look at the audience as you do this! Also, you wouldn’t make a big deal out of just picking a coin up from the table so try not to make it a big thing here. You’re just picking up the coin to do something with it…that’s all. The whole idea is to make it look so natural that no one suspects anything.

Conclusion: These variations are meant to be just that… variations. There’s no way anyone could improve on Slydini’s Coins Through The Table Routine. It was and still is the masterpiece of table/coin routines. Putting a coin through the tabletop is one thing…Slydini’s routine is something else. Entertainment value and mystery abound with the premise being simple yet unbelievable.

I strongly urge you to learn and perform the routine as explained in the Slydini books. These variations were created for two reasons…first, I just became totally taken in by the incredible techniques Slydini was showing me at the time and wanted to play around with them coming up with new combinations and adaptations. Secondly, as you’ll see if you ever perform the routine, spectators do not seem to tire of the basic effect of putting a coin or coins through the table. I found that after doing the routine the audience enjoyed the variations as well. Slydini had mentioned the same thing and that is why he had invented and added so many variations himself.

I believe that a coins through the table routine is the coin equivalent to the cups and balls…classic magic at it’s best.

If there are any questions concerning the variations or concerning the Slydini routine itself (within reason, of course), please let me know.

See you in ’99!


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.

ICOM Spotlight 10/98-12/98

Spotlight 10/98-12/98

October 1998

Another Magic Internet First!

Over the past few months, Ron Dayton has been forwarding e-mail to me that he thought I might find interesting. It contained intense magical conversations between himself and magician/magicshop owner Jeff Campbell. Upon reading these fascinating interactions, I was blown away by the scope and insight being imparted between these two geniuses. I immediately asked Ron to be able to publish these conversations exactly the way they were sent to me! In this way WE ALL can benefit from their expertise. Needless to say, I got the go-ahead and here they are. I hope that this section has a long and fruitful life to it. So sit back, relax, and get ready to join the conversation!…BJG

The Brainstorming of two Magician’s

The Original Effect That inspired This Interaction
E-Mail #1:

“The Open Back Pack”
Ronald J. Dayton

It’s funny how the simple act of just looking at something can often inspire a thought for a new effect or approach to an effect.а A number of months ago, Bobby J. Gallo had made a gift of a pack of his promotional playing cards.а Each card has a likeness of him printed on the back. In order to show this fact off more effectively, the cards are packaged in a case which has an opening or ‘window’ cut out of the back.

I did not think of the possibilities this open back pack offered for months to follow…but recently, I looked at the deck on the shelf in my magic den, andа the ideas began to present themselves.

If you look at the back of a pack of standard poker size Bicycle playing cards for example, you will find that it has a full card back design printed upon it.а You have the full back design, and the white border as well. At the top of the case, at the flap end, there is a dark blue seal, also edged in white.

With a new deck, first open and remove all of the clear plastic which surrounds the pack. Using an X-acto knife, carefully slit open the seal at the top edge of the case and remove the cards.аReplace them with an older deck…one which you don’t mind being damaged.а Make sure the case is full.а Now, cut along the white border, and around the white edge of the top seal as well so in essence, you are only removing the red or blue color interior back design printed on the rear of the case.а Once this task is completed…remove this insert and throw it away.а Take out the old cards and slip in the new deckа with backs facing toward the window you have formed at the back of the case.а That’s all there is to it.

This may sound overly simplified, or too obvious a preparation…but if you handle the card case in a convincing manner…there is no reason to suspect it is anything more than it appears to be.а The fact that the seal is clearly visible in its entirety at the back of the case sells it very well. With the flap tucked in front of one or two cards at the rear of the deck, the illusion is quite nice.

So now that we have taken a few minutes to prepare this special case…what is it exactly that it will do for me ?а Two of the more obvious things would be to use the thumb of the hand holding the case to push up a cardа from the rear while the flap of the box is open.а This cardа or cards has been chosen freely, then controlled to the top of the deck prior to the cards being replaced in the case.а A chosen card can also be secretly reversed in the deck, cut to the top, and viewed openly at the back of the case.а In this instance, even another spectator from the audience could reveal the value of the selected card.

Another card rise, a bit more off the beaten pathа is executed while the case is held at the bottom edges, at the sides,а between the right hand first finger and thumb.а The remaining fingers of the hand are extended out straight.а The deck is held at eye level. then shown to both the right and left, then returned to the front.а Suddenly, a card or cards mysteriously rises from within the open case.а How is this possible??а The case is held in front of your face, and the tip of your nose touches the rear card and acts as the power source as the case is slowly slid downward and then immediately away from the face just a few inches.а Attention is on the rising card.а And since all digits are visible, it gives no clue to the simplicity of the rise.

To be used as just an opening ‘bit’а or ‘piece of business’а the case is shown, opened, then tabled on your close up mat window side down.а The simple act of pulling the case back,а while sort of sliding it flat along your mat will cause the cards within to exit the case automatically in as ribbon spread fashion.а It’s surprising, and different…important factors in an opening move for close-up.а If the case is used for nothing else in your program other than this slide out opening, it will have served its purpose well.

A chosen card which has been returned to the deck and controlled to the topа can be retained inside the case after the pack is replaced in same.а All you have to do is to press against the chosen card as the rest of the deck is tipped out of the case a second time. While the spectator’s look through the deck for their chosen card, the case is brought to the back edge of your table, and the card tipped from the case and lapped…only to be discovered elsewhere any time you desire.

Consider the possibility of having a blue back duplicate of a card within the deck to be forced.а In this instance, you have the blue back card showing through the window, so the back of the case cannot initially be shown.аа All cards but the blue one are removed from the case as in the example above.а You force the desired cardа ( Cut Deeper Force would be good here)…then return and control the card to the top of the deck.а When inserting the deck back into the case, the blue card is secretly inserted somewhere in the center.а A spell is woven over the case…and the cards again tipped out…but this time theа original chosen card is held back by the thumb and retained within the case.ааа You then ribbon spread the deck face up…they slide out their chosen card.аа And when you ask them to turn it over, they are amazed that the back is now blue rather than red.а In essence, you have just performed an in case color change.

I think there are other applications for this Open Back Pack still to be discovered.а If the idea in the basic form appeals to you at all,а I am hopeful you will continue the search for other uses.

Jeff Campbell’s Insights
E-Mail #2:

Open Back Pack:The remaining rim of the card box will retain a coin, if slightly less than a full deck is used (of course I never play with a full deck).

This concept could be used for a Goshman “salt shaker” routine, where the coin is vanished and always found under the card case. The beauty of this is, the card box will hold the coin, allowing the box to be raised showing nothing under it. When replacing the box on the table, slightly move the box so that the coin is dragged from the rim. As you pick up the box again, the coin is now there. Transfer the box to your other hand where the “vanished coin” is finger palmed and you have an automatic reload.

This concept would also make for a simple coin thru deck. Place a quarter in each corner of the box (held in place by the rim). Slide the box diagonally on the table, about an inch each way. This will pull one coin at a time from under the rim. The four coins may be produced at once for a nice opening to matrix.

Enough for now. Ball’s in your court. Lemme know what you think.


The Return Ball, Next Month!

November 1998

The Brainstorming of two Magician’s

“Jeff and I are still having a blast, brainstorming over the Open Back Pack.а For such a strange idea of a trick, the possibilities are expanding daily.”
Ron Dayton

Continued from last month

Ron Dayton Response To Jeff Campbell
E-Mail #3:

I have been working with the Open Back Pack again, ever since Jeff Campbell inspired me with his thoughts of using it to load and produce coins. This works really well by the way!

But I found that removing the deck from the case, then glueing a sheet of reflective mylar material to the inside back of the case gives you a very functional shiner case. With the deck in place, things look normal. With the cards removed, you have a large reflective surface in which to read any card chosen.

The identity of a card to be forced could also be written in this inside surface. The message is hidden from view while the deck is in place…but once removed, the spectator could be given the information with just a glance. This is true of any information or action you wish to convey to a spectator assistant.

If a card is reversed and placed second from the top of the pack prior to the deck being cased…it is an easy matter to push the rear card up just prior to tipping and removing the deck from the case. This allows the thumb to hold and control the second, or reversed card… retaining it in the case as the others are tipped out. The reversed card is then inserted secretly somewhere near the center of the deck as the pack is returned to the case. This method of retaining the card second from the top would work exceeding well in the chosen card color change outlined in a previous series of possible handlings.


Jeff Campbell Response To Ron Dayton
E-Mail #4:

Here’s another one…

Remove the deck from the box. Close the box flap and lay the box on the table between you and the spectator (hole side down,of course). Have a card selected, signed and returned to the deck. Control it to bottom and fold it in quarters (as in Goshman’s card to purse, Mullica’s card in apple…). Cop the folded card as you give the deck to the spectator to shuffle. Move the box out of their way, loading their signed fold card into the box. After some byplay reveal their card. This loading also works with a signed bill (as in a torn and restored bill routine). I’m sure this will stimulate other ideas as well. Have fun!

Ron Dayton Response To Jeff Campbell
E-Mail #5:

After reading Jeff’s newest application for the Open Back Pack…I began to think about other things that might be loaded into the case.

It might be nice to remove the cards as in the original handling, close the case and set it aside, open side down. A card is forced upon a spectator who is asked to remember same. Card is returned to deck and lost in same. Deck is tabled face down. You then glance at the case… pick it up and comment that you forgot to remove the deck. Case is opened, and a cased deck of miniature cards is removed. Spectator is asked to name his chosen card. He then takes the mini cards from their case, ribbon spreads them face down, and discovers the only reversed card in the pack matches his selection.

As a comedy bit, you could make the same statement as above…” Oh, oh…I forgot to take the pack out of the case. This time items such as a pack of chewing gum, a small pack of candy cigarettes or even one of those small back packs such as sold as key-chains might be taken from within the case. Brainstorm a bit and see how many other ‘ packs ‘ might apply to this idea.

Ron <G>

Ron Dayton Response To Jeff Campbell
E-Mail #6:

Dear Jeff,

The suggestion to use the loaded key-chain size back pack to hold the folded card is a nifty one.

There are so many things that could be loaded into the case. Candy, for a sweet trick. Or one of those cut-out card coins could be used as suggested in your coin and pack idea…producing the half dollar with the value of the chosen card literally cut from it.

Another idea I have considered is to have a card selected, returned and mixed in, then the deck is tabled face down. Spectator thinks of his chosen card ( forced ). You then say that people don’t always credit you for the skill needed to perform a certain trick. That’s why I always carry this. Opening the previously empty card case. you tip it, and out slides a credit card. You ask them to name their selection, and, when the credit card is turned over, a smaller duplicate of their card is attached to the back.

I don’t know if it is appropriate or not. That would be up to the performer and the circumstances to decide…but how about producing one of those tiny bibles from within the case…after saying you probably don’t think I have a prayer of discovering what your card was. Open the cover, and there inside is a miniature cuplicate of the chosen card.

A pocket size box for wooden matches ( sleeve and drawer variety ) could be loaded with the folded card selection….then box closed and loaded into the case. You would state that there is a perfect match to their chosen card, still in the case. With those words, you open the case flap, remove the box. Re-close the case and table it open side down, then allow the spectator to push open the drawer of the matchbox and discover signed card.

Your business card could be discovered in the case…turned over to reveal that the name of the chosen card is written on the back. Great giveaway for the spectator.

As a comedy approach…a card which has been folded in half, end to end with the face side outermost is removed from the case after a card has previously been chosen and lost within the tabled deck. You of course have stated earlier that the identity of their selected card would appear within the case. At first, they feel they have duped you, because the card removed from the case ‘does not’ match their selection. You justify the situation by saying that this must be ( pointing to the case), a case of mistaken identity! What was your card again? You turn the folded card over, and there on the back, printed in magic marker, is the name of their chosen card.

Maybe not all earth shattering…but, food for thought never-the-less.


Co-Directors Notes: This is the conclusion to I.C.O.M-versations. The reason I have given you all of it this month is due to the fact that starting in December, We have a whole new series starting that you are going to LOVE! So consider the extra material this month a bonus…BJG

In the great tradition of I.C.O.M-edy Lines #1 and “You Say It, I’m Too Chicken” (Both can be found in the Archives), We now subject you too, err, I mean, We bring you More!!! <G>…BJG (just kidding Ron!)

I.C.O.M-edy Lines Part #2
Ron Dayton

  1. If Jerry Mc Guire were a magician, would he say…” Show me the bunny! ” ??
  2. Question: If Sylvester Stallone did magic, would he call himself Sly-dini too??
  3. The rabbit I used in my act had six feet. Each of his ears were twelve inches long!

Part # 2 Is Now

Dr.Om’s Mini Miracle Course In Writing For Magician’s

Co-Director’s Notes: I.C.O.M is once again proud to announce the birth of yet another ground-breaking, and not mention, totally original concept in the development of the magical arts.

Class Is Now In Session Over At The I.C.O.M Library!

December 1998

The Brainstorming of two Magician’s

Just when you thought it was safe!
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 elsewhere in this quarter.

E-Mail #7:

I found that removing the deck from the case, then glueing a sheet of reflective mylar material to the inside back of the case gives you a very functional shiner case. With the deck in place, things look normal. With the cards removed, you have a large reflective surface in which to read any card chosen.

The identity of a card to be forced could also be written in this inside surface. The message is hidden from view while the deck is in place …but once removed, the spectator could be given the information with just a glance. This is true of any information or action you wish to convey to a spectator assistant.

If a card is reversed and placed second from the top of the pack prior to the deck being cased…it is an easy matter to push the rear card up just prior to tipping and removing the deck from the case. This allows the thumb to hold and control the second, or reversed card… retaining it in the case as the others are tipped out. The reversed card is then inserted secretly somewhere near the center of the deck as the pack is returned to the case. This method of retaining the card second from the top would work exceeding well in the chosen card color change outlined in a previous series of possible handlings.


E-Mail #8:

Dear Jeff.

Just got your e-mail giving permission to use the Open Back Pack brainstorm ideas. You made my day!

I did a short routine for Sue last night using the deck to produce several coins in a matrix type fashion. She couldn’t believe her eyes !! Imagine that…I actually fooled her with something. Too bad it wasn’t mine ! <G>

The stuff above are some additional thoughts on the deck. Nothing as important as I consider your coin load method to be…but I am still looking.

It works to place the case to your forhead too, as if trying to think or get an image of a selected card ( which has been controlled to the top )…then sliding the case downward a bit and squeezing the sides to hold the risen card in place. This is an alternative to the nose method. It’s just as unexpected, and the squeeze hold allows the case to the moved forward from the forehead smoothly enough that they never really realize the card came into contact with your head as a power source for the rise.

Yes, please…keep that thinking cap on !! This is just great !

The End ???????????

The Ronald J. Dayton Gold Medal Creativity Series

Volume #3
Volumes #1 and #2 may be found in the archives. Volume #1 dealt with The Card Box and Volume #2 dealt with The Egg Bag

This began with a suggestion I made to Ron to continue the brilliant premise he started back near the start of I.C.O.M. Here is the short letter he wrote to me and what followed….BJG

Dear Bobby,

As you suggested, I began thinking about a specific magic prop…and strove to expand upon its uses…just as was done with the Card Box etc. For this first installment, I will take a look at the Coin Pail.


” A Coin Pail By Any Other Name “
Ronald J. Dayton

Coin Pails have been used in manipulative acts for decades. The basic premise is that of the performer using a metal pail as a receptacle into which he tosses coins magically produced at his fingertips. The effect is a classic, and indeed, has many strengths. It was an effect which played well for coin manipulators, especially when they needed to work in large theaters because the sound of each coin being dropped into the pail reinforced the production for those who may have been seated further to the back. The combination of deft sleights…the lights playing off the surface of the coins, and the pleasing sound of metal against metal were important elements for several senses.

Over the years, many methods and routines have evolved. New sleights…new holders, gimmicks, and droppers were developed. Even the pails themselves went through a series of changes and advancements. Recessed bottoms, hidden slots, built-in droppers, the use of magnets, and clamps all had their place in various routines.

The stage trick was gradually modified to accommodate the parlor and then the close-up performer as well. When the costs of producing big traveling shows drove them out of existence, magicians were forced to find new venues and new methods. The pails became smaller metal cups, and then crystal glasses and stemmed goblets. The distance between the performer and the audience decreased, but the impact of the effect itself did not.

Thinking performers often strove to improve handlings…and find new and exciting ways of incorporating basic principles and elements to give them a new ‘look’. Presentation and dressing , when well thought out, can often produce a routine so different in concept, so original, it gives you the advantage of doing something no one else is doing.

What I would like to do now is to take you through a series of exercises in which we will look to find how basic coin pail principles can be changed to give them a different look. We must always remain focused on what the important elements of the original are…and how to best retain them in the newer version.

To begin with…we will start with the container, which historically began as a pail. Is it, given a bit of thought, logical to carry a pail, to begin with…and then for some reason, begin producing coins and tossing them into the same? My first impulse is to answer, no. But…logic can be given to the circumstance if the container had originally been there for a legitimate purpose. I.E. A champagne bucket had been used to hold a bottle of the bubbly…and the bottle was then used in a Multiplying Bottle routine. Later, the performer begins his manipulative act…and finding he could use a container for the coins which are appearing from thin air, opts to grab the empty pail. That would make the combination of coins and pail logical.

What if a performer chose to do a specialty act involving fire as the principle element….and were dressed as a Fireman complete with small ladder…length of hose, and an axe and pail. What a delightful combination this could make, at some point producing both alternating flames and coins at fingertips…dropping them into the pail, and lastly, using the ladder as a Coin Ladder down which to pour the coins for a finale…multiplying them many times in the process.

Who else would logically have a pail at his disposal?? A plumber would! And instead of coins, you could produce metal washers. In many instances, a carpenter or roofer would have a pail What an interesting change of pace to produce nails at your fingertips rather than coins.

Entire acts can be created simply by giving the original premise a bit of serious thought. Combine things of which you are aware, but which would not normally be used together and see what the result might be. Here in the States, uses for pails might well be different than in other countries. Years ago, it was not unusual for beer to be purchased and carried home from the vendor in pails. Some groups did, and may still carry their lunch in a metal pail…precursor to the lunch box. <G> But as I stated before…let your imagination have free range. As performers of the past have discovered…the container need not necessarily be a pail.

What if, just as an example to consider…the container would be a metal cocktail shaker…what then might be a logical thing to produce and toss inside? I’m thinking of ice cubes! The shaker could be gimmicked with any variety of the new zip-seal snack bags glued and positioned opening down near the top edge. Real ice cube could be placed in here, keeping moisture and leakage to a minimum. The shaker could then also be tipped open side down to suggest it is empty prior to the production, and without having to manually hold any object inside with your fingers. If the zip seal bag were long and narrow…the opening could be to one side…and individual cubes could be worked toward, and released one at a time in this way. These are all details you would have to find solutions for if indeed you wanted to create such a routine. Fake cubes could be made from any variety of clear lucite craft polymers currently available. All you’d have to do is create a form into which to pour the mixture and allow the same to cure. These plastic cubes could then be stolen from droppers etc. and attached to catchers as well. When combined with the real cubes from within the plastic bag and their moisture…the psychological impact would be immediate.

As yet another possibility…and a major divergence from the concept of a pail, let’s consider other metal containers which are acceptable to your audience…and logical objects which could be produced and dropped into same. How about the metal tins in which hard candies and cookies are packaged and sold. Just think of all the seasonal applications this could have! Wrapped candies in particular appeal to me. You would, of course, have to get permission to hand some out to audience members if you wished…especially from the parents of children present. Some may have allergic reactions to sweets, and, in other instances the parents simply do not care for the idea. Always check to be sure. It can save you a lot of grief in the long run. But to get back to my original thought…the wrapped candies would be most readily accepted if indeed they are accepted at all. Cookies are great visually…but not as a treat to be given away. In fact, cookies would play wonderfully well when used in conjunction with a series of cookie effects I have devised, and which will appear in I.C.O.M at some future date. Food for thought! ( Pun intended <G>)

Many things are sold in containers which ‘could’ be used in such a routine…but, not all are right for the job. Remember…the visibility of the object being produced is important, but to an equal degree…so is the ‘sound’ being produced by the object into which it is being dropped. It should be in any given instance, not only what they would expect…but it should also be pleasing. A clank or clunk may not always play as well as a gentle ting or ring. Just something additional to think about.

I think, for now, you have the general idea of what I have been attempting to say. When I begin to ramble…my thoughts aren’t always in order or perfectly clear. I hope that what I have presented for your evaluation this time around was concise, clear, and valuable as possible. It is great fun for me to get into a process like this. Many times, forcing myself to begin thinking about subjects I may not have afforded time to produce results that exceed anything I may have expected. This particular exercise is no exception. I feel I have benefited. I hope you have as well. ————————————————————–

I’m really glad you suggested this. It was a hoot! Once I began getting into the thought process, the ideas just kept flowing. I hope you agree with some of my observations. I’ve often said, this is what I enjoy doing best. With luck, you will feel it is suitable for I.C.O.M student consumption.

Best always…Ron

No Ron, “We” are the ones that are glad! Glad that you enjoy doing this. I am sure everyone is thrilled with the prospect of having a ton of great material like this coming up in the following months. This is a true learning exercise and one that will benefit all for years to come…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 by the International Conservatory of Magic and its respective contributors. No part of this page or its contents may be re-produced without the expressed written permission of I.C.O.M. All marketing, manufacturing, & publication rights are reserved. Violation of this is considered intellectual property and information theft and carries penalties under federal law.

Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 10/98-12/98

When Mike first approached me on this and told me that he had a dynamite force that he has floored “heavyweights” in magic with, I was very interested. Now, I didn’t know what he was about to do, but I had just written a primer on forcing myself and “no way” I thought, was he going to fool me with it. Well folks, you live and you learn! Floor me he did! and now here it is for you to floor others with…Gee Wiz, I thought only Bill Wisch could do that to me<G>…BJG

Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser

(June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875)

Fordice/Hofzinser Force
Mike Fordice

This month I’m going to share an intriguing force with you. It is based on an idea from Johann Neopmuk Hofzinser (June 19, 1806 – March 11, 1875). Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find a lot more on forcing. Next month I’ll give you a use for this force.

There are books and books written on forces. I probably use about a dozen different forces depending on several things (including my mood!). The force I’m about to teach you is most useful when the “selected” card is to be returned to the deck and lost so that only one person knows the value of the card.

Also we have a few photographs of the mechanics of this force in action. Bobby J. Gallo took these pictures of me doing the force when we attended the Danny Archer Lecture at SAM #161 recently. These photos are from the spectator’s point of view.

1. Begin with the card to be forced on the top of the deck. Get it there any way you like. Perform false shuffles and/or false cuts to retain the force card on the top of the deck. These false shuffles are really easy as you are controlling only one card. Hold the cards face down in your left hand.

2. Using your left thumb, push the top card of the pack (the force card) into your right hand. Push off a second card, and then a third card. Figure #1 shows the position just as the third card is grabbed by the right thumb (left side of photo). The force card is the bottom card of the three shown at the left. This should appear as though the cards are being counted from left to right.

Figure #1

3. Now begin pushing cards with the left thumb to the right; taking them into the right hand without reversing the order. Push the cards off as a spread so that several individual cards are visible. Figure #2 shows the position at this point. The first 3 cards are completely covered by this spread.

Figure #2

4. Have the spectator touch any card in the spread. Break the spread at this point and close the spread by taping the spread again the remainder of the deck. Figure #3.

Figure #3

5. Lift your right hand to the spectator can see the card he “selected” which is actually the force card. Stress that the spectator must remember the card as he/she is the only person in the world who know the value!

Practice this so it looks like you simply spread the cards, the spectator touched a card, and you showed him his selection.

Next month we’ll put this to use!

UNUSUAL! But Good! That is how I can describe this next lesson in the simplest possible terms. And a true lesson it is! Not only is this effective magic that the student can make up with only a small amount of effort, but it gives yet another insight into the creative mind at work. Due to the fact that it uses marbles. It “could” have been equally at home in the “Kid Show Konservatory”. I fully realize that this is a huge departure from the normal card and coin effects that we normally share with you, but diversity of magic is important. I think you are going to like this one. I do!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

The mechanics for Roller Box first appeared in print in Dec.of 1995 within the pages of MUM Magazine. I made it part of my regular column, ‘ Dayton’s Deceptive Thoughts’. It seems the idea made an impression on master wood-crafter Clarence S. Miller. He later sent me a finished piece of equipment made entirely of fine hard woods, complete with brass knobs on the drawer.

The ingenious addition he made to the box was a means by which the large marbles placed inside of it could be shown to move freely within the drawer, or, seem to vanish or change color via the Roller Box Principle. Mr. Miller is making and marketing these superb boxes. If you are a serious student of magic, or an avid collector of magic equipment, I urge you to contact him for availability and prices. His address is:

Clarence S. Miller, 354 Broadway, Irvine, KY 40336-1281.

I am, however, putting the cart before the horse. The real story begins in late 1993 or early 1994. A friend of mine, Larry White, had sent several random items for me to ‘tinker’ with, and see if a magic application could be found for the. One of the items were several clear lucite spheres, approximately one half inch in diameter.

I placed one of the spheres into the drawer of a small empty box for matches. The drawer would close without revealing a noticeable ‘bulge’. A big, unexpected surprise came when I pushed the drawer open about three quarters of the way out in the opposite direction. It appeared to be empty! Then I pushed it open the other way, and it still looked empty. The ball seemed to have vanished. The light pressure of the outer sleeve caused the ball to maintain a rather centered position within the box, no matter which way the the drawer was opened, or in which direction the box was held. Horizontally or in perpendicular position, the action remained the same.

Try this for yourself after having found the correct size ball and drawer box with which to work. Experiment with the applications. You’ll find that you can do vanishes and productions, color changes, transformations, and even transpositions if two boxes and balls are used. Consider your possibilities. Think about the combination of different balls with different objects. Perhaps a ball can be changed to a silk? A ball to a cube or die? A hard ball for a sponge ball?

As an example, consider this. Find and use a proper diameter cork ball or small ‘super ball’ in conjunction with a finger ring. Having the ball already in the box, and then keeping it hidden from view as you place a borrowed finger ring into the box will give you a Rattle Box and ring vanish all in one.

This is a marvelous little creation which was stumbled upon purely by accident. It is something both the amateur and working pro can make use of. I believe it has such strength that I wanted to share it with the members of I.C.O.M, just as I had with other magicians previously. I don’t want it to fall by the way-side, or be lost within the pages of a magazine among others stacked on a shelf.

We here at I.C.O.M strive to be innovators to the magic community. Though we realize that we are the sole source of magic to many around the world, we like to think that the magic learned here is not of the variety that is imitated all throughout the magic fraternity. Heaven knows there is enough of that! The following is believed to be an original sleight. Learn it and fool the “all-knowing ones” at your next club meeting, or use it as yet another move for you adoring audiences…BJG

The Curl Back Reversal
Ronald J. Dayton

The face down deck is held in the left hand…tilted at a slight angle so its back is toward the spectators.а The left thumb is at the center of the top long edge and the second, third and fourth are at the opposite long edge.а The left hand first finger is curled and pressed against the center of the face of the deck.

The right hand comes over the deck and grasps it in the following manner.а The right thumb is at the end nearest you…the second and third fingers are at the opposite end, and the first and fourth fingers are at either side, near the corners.

In that moment that the right hand covers the back of the deck, the left hand fingers pull down the long edge of the face card at this side and pull it back toward the left thumb…bending or curling the card in a sort of “U” shape side to side.а In the same instant, the left hand first finger straightens toward the right.а The card becomes clipped momentarily between the left hand first and second fingers, and automatically turns over.

The fingers of the left hand press the reversed card against the deck as the left hand first fingers pulls out from between the card and the deck,а toward the front LH corner of the pack.а As soon as the reversal has been accomplished, the deck is cut and the cut completed.

There will be a slightа ‘flicking’ sound when the card turns over.а This can be minimized by using an older deck…by executing the reversal while on the move…or by making a comment at the moment of the reversal.

It will be up to each individual to determine the worth of this move for themselves.а I believe that, at the proper time, and under the right conditions,а it can be a help in achieving a desired effect.

To a certain degree, it has elements of my Reversal Cull which appeared in MUM a number of years ago, and which no one ever disputed as being original.

” The King’s Sword – Excalibur “
Ronald J. Dayton

EFFECT:аа Two items are seen lying on the performer’s table…a cased deck of cards, and a small plastic cocktail pick…the kind which are made of plastic, and resemble small swords.

You remove the cards from the case, and set the case aside.а The deck is held face down upon the palm of the right hand.а Right thumb holds deck at the top.а A card is chosen by a member of the audience.а It is replaced on top of the deck, and the cards cut and the cut completed. The spectator is now asked to pick up the tiny sword, and push it into the deck, somewhere near the center.а This done, the deck is tabled.

You make a magical gesture over the deck with the right hand, then pick the deck up with one hand at either end, and the sword protruding at the top long edge of the pack.а You now ask the spectator to remove the sword.а As they try, they find it difficult to pull from the deck. Eventually, they are able to, but as they do, a card is seen to emerge with it.а The sword is found to be embedded in the card itselfа This card may be given to the spectator if you wish as a momento of your performance.а The deck itself is otherwise clean.

METHOD:а You will need a deck of cards and case, a duplicate of the card you intend to force, a scissors, two duplicate plastic sword picks, rubber cement in applicator brush bottle.

Begin with one of the swords, the rubber cement, and one of the duplicate cards, and an indifferent card.аа If you intend to give the Excalibur card away at each performance, it is a good idea to purchase a matching Pinochle deck, and make several at a time.

Take the duplicate of the force card and apply a coat of rubber cement to the back and allow to dry.а Rubber cement is also applied to the front of the indifferent card and set aside to dry. Coat the blade of the plastic sword on both sides and allow to dry…then assemble the two cards, sandwiching the swordа between them at the center of one long edge. Take care to press the cards firmly together on either side of the blade, so it appears to actually be embedded in a single card.

Take your scissors and cut a slit half way down the side of the card case,а to allow the deck with protruding card to be slipped inside.а Place the gimmicked card face down on the front of the pack, with sword extending to the right.а Put deck into case and close case, and you’re ready
to perform.

HANDLING:аа The case is lying on your close-up mat with the sword handle facing toward you. The second plastic sword is just to the left, and in plain view.а Remove the cards from the case and hold them on the palm of the right hand.а The handle is clipped between and concealed by theа right hand first and second fingers.а The top card of the face down deck is the card you intend to force.а Execute the Cut Deeper Force, allowing the blocks of cards to be lifted directly from the deck while you hold it in the right hand. Allow the spectator to take their ‘selected card’.а While they show their card, you reassemble the deck. They then place their card back on top, you cut and complete the cut.а As the top half is placed under the bottom half, the gimmicked card becomes positioned somewhere near the center of the deck.

The spectator is now asked to pick up the small plastic sword. The deck is held with the free long edge facing them, and they are asked to insert the sword somewhere near the middle., pushing it in up to the hilt. This is the point where the ‘moves’ begin.а I will attempt to make them
as clear as possible.

аааа The left hand approaches the left long side of the deck.а The first and second fingersа are at the left corner of the end furthest from you, the thumb at the left corner nearest you.а As you turn so the front end of the deck is toward the spectators, the left third and fourth fingersа which are curled along the left side of the deck, clip the handle of the free sword between them.аа The left third finger then curls intoward the palm a bit more, pulling and pivoting the swordа free from the deck and lifting it up toward the left palm.а In the same instant, the right hand shifts positions, disengaging from its hold on the gimmicked sword handle.а It simply holds the deck at the right hand fork of the thumb at the forward right edge.

аааа The right hand little finger curls inward and against the front of the deck as theа first, second and third fingers grasp the left long side of the deck under cover of the left hand.а In one move, the left hand begins to move away as the right hand turns palm down and tables the deck.а Due to the way in which the right hand is holding the deck,а the pack is automatically tabled, face up, with the gimmicked sword still at the right side, just as it should be if an actual turn over of the free sword had been executed.

You lap the free sword in the left hand as the right hand gestures over the tabled deck.а You then pick the deck up between the hands, one at each end, with the back of the deck facing the audience, sword at center of top long edge.а Pressure from your hold will prevent them from extracting the sword at first.а After a try or two, relax the pressure, and allow the amazement to begin.а They will pull the sword from the deck, but a card comes with it.а The clincher comes when they not only discover it is their chosen card…but that the sword is now embeddedа right in it, and cannot be removed!!

Your patter begins at the point where they have just inserted the free sword into the deck.а This is where you weave the tale of King Arthur, and the power that all swords have been given since that ancient time.а You will find that this is a powerful, unexpected version of a classic card location theme.а It will cost only pennies to produce, and the props may be used over and over again if you so desire.а By having extra sets of the gimmicked card ready, you have the option of giving the card away at each performance, or, having different sets readyа for possible repeat engagements.а Enjoy!!

November 1998

Co-Directors Notes: If I told you that this was a long awaited I.C.O.M release, you would probably not believe me. But nevertheless, it is! Word of this effect was leaked out of I.C.O.M headquarters some time ago and there are those who are thrilled that they are finally going to have what can only be termed as a trick “in good taste”…BJG

Good Magic, No Matter How You Slice It!
Ronald J. Dayton

This is one of my strangest ideas in quite some time.. .but, it really does work nicely. It involves tried and true principles which are used in an unusual way. A deck of cards which is placed between two slices of bread is sure to attract attention.. and hold it as well.

You will need a deck of cards in their case, a brown paper lunch bag, two clear plastic sandwich bags, and two slices of bread. The only preparation you have made to the deck of cards is to insure that the two cards you wish to force are on top. All remaining props are ungimmicked. Place the deck in to one clear zip-lock bag, and the bread slices in the other. These two bags are then placed inside your brown paper bag, then the top is folded shut.

The brown bag and its contents are on your table from the start of your performance, just off to your left side, but in full view. When you are ready, you glance at the bag as if noticing it is there for the first time. With a sheepish grin, you comment…” Some people think every magician has a ‘bag of tricks’.. but this one is just my lunch.”

Moving the bag nearer, you open it and peer in. You then remove the bread package first.. .and then the deck of cards. The cards will be unexpected. Explain that you’ll have to work up an appetite first by doing a couple of card tricks.

Taking the deck from within the zip-lock and removing it from its case you proceed by asking a spectator to think of any number from one to twenty. Prior to this, you may shuffle the deck, making sure you do not disturb the position of the top two cards. When the number is given to you, you count that many cards face down on the table. Picking this smaller packet up, it is immediately replaced on top of the deck. Now you again count off the number of cards chosen. The last card of the count is shown to the spectator, and he is told to remember it. You do not look at it. The selected ( forced ) card is tabled face down for a moment as you add the small tabled packet of discards back on top of the deck. Now, the chosen card is apparently placed in the center of the pack, but in reality, you slip it on to the front of the deck. The squared up deck is now tabled, face down.

The second force is achieved by using the Cut Deeper Force. This will give a second spectator the second card originally on the top of the deck at the start. The spectator memorizes it, and you replace the card on top of the deck. Give the deck a series of false shuffles and cuts, retaining the two selections on the front and top of the deck respectively.

Now comes the second surprise. You remove the slices of bread from their zip-lock bag and form a sandwich by actually placing the deck between the two slices.

The sandwich is held in the right hand with fingers below and thumb at top center. You comment that there is way too much filling between the bread, and so, with a quick forward jerking swing of the hand, most of the cards are ejected out on to the table.

You now lie the sandwich on the table. The left hand slides the top slice off, and a single card is seen lying on the slice below. You ask spectator *1 what their card was. You then turn the visible card over, and, it IS THEIR SELECTION!

The left hand replaces its slice of bread and you pick the sandwich up as if to take a bite. Then you remember that a second

card had been chosen as well. Lying the sandwich down once again, the left hand lifts away the top slice. There, face up on the lower slice of bread is the remaining chosen card: You’ll have just performed a card trick the audience will really remember. They’ll eat it up.. .with relish!

NOTE: Those of you well versed in magic will recognize that this is a version of a friction grip location of two cards. The only difference is that the cards are held between two slices of bread rather than just the fingers and thumbs of the hand. BUT… the bread gives full cover. It conceals the fact that two cards are sandwiched between them. As you slide the top slice back toward you, the upper card of the two will come with it, allowing the left thumb to get under the slice and lift the card away with the bread.

When you replace the top slice and later lift the sandwich as if to take a bite.. as it is tabled again, it is secretly turned over. You then execute the slide and lift of the new top slice for the final reveal of the second card. The slices of bread make everything pretty automatic.

I have no preference as to the type of bread you want to use. Day old is probably best. It’s a bit firmer, and easier to handle without tearing. Those of you watching your weight, or with health problems may want to use seven grain, or low fat. The option is yours, but remember please… .no butter!

Additional Co-Directors Notes:

  • There is a trick presently on the market that uses FOAM bread slices. If this can be found, the prop may be adapted, with some changes to the above routine.
  • In the beginning I told you that this was an anticipated routine. If you didn’t believe me, tune is next month. We will be featuring variations of this from noted magician, Joseph K. Schmidt! Watch for it…

Co-Directors Notes: I can go on and on about the constant quality of Fordice material. Here is an example of creative thinking and routining at its finest. If you want a pro routine, you got it, right here!…BJG

Group Mind Reading
Mike Fordice

This is an effect to be performed when there is an obvious leader of a group present. I have performed this for the president of a company, the director of sales training at a graduation dinner for sales trainees, the pastor of a church, the soccer coach at the end-of-season awards party, etc. I’ve also performed it (with some modification) for a cousin of my mother-in-law at a surprise 75th birthday party.

The obvious leader (victim) randomly selects a card from a shuffled deck. The card in immediately returned to the deck, the deck shuffled, and returned to the case. As the victim concentrates on the selected card, the entire gathering is able to read his/her mind and announce the identity of the card.

A deck of cards. The Fordice/Hofzinser Force I taught last month. A way of informing the audience the identity of the selected card. For this I use a large (8 x 11 inch) 3 of diamonds. This large card is actually a silk-producing item called “Silk-Dimension” from Tricks Co., Ltd. in Japan. You can use a jumbo card, make a sign, etc.

Ask the victim to join you on stage. Discuss the importance of communication in his/her position as (president, coach, pastor, etc) and that there are various kinds of communicationЛwritten, verbal, body language, etc. What most of us forget about is mental communication or telepathy. (You have to specifically adapt this presentation to your particular situation; this is only a brief description to get you started.) Tell him/her that because of his/her special and important position as _____, you would like to try an experiment in mental communication.

Bring out the deck with the 3 of diamonds on top. Do a false shuffle retaining the 3D on top and force the card using The Fordice/Hofzinser force (see last month). Have the victim glance at the card and tell him/her that it is important to remember the card. Return the card to the deck; shuffle and return the deck to the case. Impress upon the victim that he/she is the ONLY person in the world who knows the identity of the cardЛand that this is an awesome responsibility.

Describe that you are not going to determine the identity of the card, but that the entire group is going to do that! (build this up) At this point I usually offer the victim a chair. I do this primarily so the victim is a bit out of the way as I bring out the large card (or sign) for the audience. Ask the victim to close his/her eyes and concentrate on a visual image of the card–first concentrate on the color of the cardЛred or black. Then prompt the audience to reveal the color of the card–red.

Next ask the victim to concentrate on the suit of the card. Since the audience selected the color red, the suit must be hearts or diamonds. Prompt the audience to reveal diamonds.

Next, we have to work on the value of the card, but do this in 2 steps. Ask the victim to concentrate on the value of the selected cardЛwas it high or low? Again prompt the audience to reveal high or low. Finally, and in the same manner, have the audience reveal the value of the card.

At the end, there is an option. You can show the large card to the victim or can elect not to show it. Most of the time, I show the large card. This leaves the victim scratching his/her head as you take your bows and accept your applause.

When I performed this at the 75th birthday party I did not have my large card. So I grabbed a coloring pad and crayons from one of the kids in attendance and made up a sign showing the 3D.

What I thought would be great fun would be to do this at a large corporate meeting that has rear-screen projection. You would need to 35 mm slide of the 3D (or other card) and have that projected as you proceed with the effect.

Enjoy! And let us know about your successes with this and the other wonderful effects here on I.C.O.M.

December 1998

Noted Magician Joseph K.Schmidt has submitted the following thoughts and patter for I.C.O.M. These are his ideas for a possible handling of the Sandwiched Card Trick described last month…the one in which the two chosen cards become trapped between two slices of bread.

” Bread Sandwich …A Second Bite”
Joseph K. Schmidt

As an alternate handling for the Dayton Sandwiched Card effect…one might well consider having the spectators who chose the cards write the name of their favorite sandwich ingredient on their card with a felt tip marking pen, rather than their name. Once this is done, they may also have free choice of any two slices of bread from a loaf. ” When most people want to catch a mouse, they usually use cheese in their traps. Here in Germany…we use ‘speck’ or bacon. It has the same fatal attraction for the mice. Well I am going to try to use the favorite sandwich fillings you have written on the cards to try to ‘trap’ the chosen cards in this sandwich. “

Just as in the Dayton version, the full deck is placed between the slices of bread. The bread is given a shake, and most of the cards come out from the center. As far as selection and control goes, you could simply take the two ‘fixings’ cards and drop them on top….double undercut one to the face. False shuffle, retaining the cards in place. This is easily done if a riffle shuffle is used.

Another control handling would be to add the two cards to the face of the deck, double cut both to the back of the still face up deck. Hindu Shuffle without disturbing the two cards. Later, turn the deck face down and double cut one to the bottom. This is a Stewart James idea from Tops magazine years ago

The whole premise of this effect is unusual and fun. Maybe you will agree that the use of fillings rather than spectator names on the cards lends itself well to the over-all novelty.

Coming next month
Yes…One more version of the Sandwiched Card Trick!

” Mind Implosion “
Ronald J. Dayton

Keeping track of a simple series of numbers and words dosen’ create a serious problem for the average person. We do it everyday while dealing with names and phone numbers, area codes and addresses. But what I am offering to I.C.O.M members who enjoy the challenge of numbers and words is an ‘apparent’ presentation of a super memory. It makes a nice lead-in effect to other mental routines. Best of all, it requires no memorization at all! This frees the performer to concentrate completely on presentation.

The effect depends upon the selection of specific words…the use of the fact that certain numbers, when arranged properly, and turned upside down, resemble the letters in certain words. The third aspect of this effect is the use of a special method of forcing a word which was originally devised for an earlier effect.

Please look at list “A” first. These specific words are printed on

one side of a piece of stiff white stock. The list begins with the number 37817 followed by the word Scripture, and then the word Bible. List “A” ends with the number 54915 followed by the words : SOFT, SIGHS.

Your job is to convince the aududiencethat you have not only memorized all of the numbers on the list printed on both sides of the posterboard stock…but that you know the word immediately to the right ofthe number,and the word associated with it further to the right. In total, that would amount to memorizing 258 random words and numbers, but in reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

Look again at the number 37818 and the words Scripture and Bible. If you turn the number upside down, the last 8 is to your left. The number eight resembles a B…the 1 is an I, the second 8 is another B. Finally, the resupinated number 7 looks like an L, and the 3 resembles an E. When you put them all together, they code or reveal to you the second
word…BIBLE !

Word List “A” consists of every other word on the list having the capability of revealing the second word to you in this way. In other words, when you begin, a piece of stiff posterboard stock is shown to have a series of numbers and words printed on both sides. One side is list “A” and the opposite side is list “B”. There are 86 number lines available. You ask them to choose any number from 1 to 86. If they pick an odd number, you lay the list down with “A” side up and ask them to silently count to their number. If it is not on that side, they are to turn the slip over and continue on the other side. No matter what odd number they select…it will always bring them to one of the special word and number lines. If they choose an even number, side “B” is left uppermost, and same instructions given.

The numbers and letters are as follow:

1 = I, 3 = E, 4 = H, 5 = S, 7 = L, 8 = B, 9 = G, and 0 = O

What the audience assumes, incorrectly, is that the five digit number has been memorized to tell you the first word of the two. The impression that you want to create is that you’ve memorized the numbers, and the word first listed, and the word associated with the first word. If you can accomplish this, you will have a radically mind blowing effect at your disposal.

In your patter, explain that something as basic as the numbers for a lottery are used because the possible combinations are mathematically staggering. Much in the same way basic musical notes have been used for centuries to be combined in variations to create every piece of music that has ever been committed to paper. The possible combinations of numbers and letters in the words of the experiment you are about to embark upon would severely test the most powerful computers of our day.

To begin the routine, the list, the small slip of paper and a pencil are on your table. You ask for the help of a member of the audience in an experiment of the mind. Once they have joined you at your side, they are shown the list casually on both sides. You explain that the list consists of 86 five digit numbers, 86 random words, and 86 related words…a total of 258 basic pieces of information to commit to memory…compounded by the staggering mathematical possibilities of number and letter combinations. They are then asked to choose a number from 1 to 86. As soon as they announce it, you lay the list down on the table correct side up…and step away from the table a few paces with your back turned to the assistant, but positioned so the rest of the audience can see what you do.

Tell the spectator to carefully count to the number position he has selected. If necessary to arrive at that position, they may turn the slip over and continue counting on the other side. when they reach the chosen position, they are to jot down the five digit number they have arrived at on the small slip of paper. They are then to hand this small slip, and the pencil to you.

They are told that just to the right of the five digit number they will see a word. They are asked to concentrate on this word for a moment. You then ask them to clear their mind, and concentrate on the associated or related word immediately to the right of the first word. After a moment,you write something on the slip of paper with the pencil. The slip is then handed to another member of the audience.

The spectator is asked to name the final, related word he has been thinking of. He does. The member of the audience who was just handed the small slip of paper moments ago is now asked to stand and announce the word you had devined and pprinted on the slip. The two words are a perfect match.

There is quite a bit of psycology employed in this effect. The choice of words to emphasize the mathematical possibilities…the supposed use of ‘random’ words, and associated words. It is a strong point that the assistant, not you is the one to jot the five digit number down on the slip of paper…and a strong conclusion when a second member of the audience confirms the match of the written and thought-of word.

The premise for this effect was placed in a notebook over seven years ago, waiting for a method which would allow it to blossom to its full potential. The discovery of the Turn Over Force, with two sections of the same list printed on either side of a slip of paper allowed me to complete the process. Whey ‘you’ come up with a possible effect, make a record of it as well. If the effect cannot be done as you envision it at present, prehaps in time, just as in this instance, amethod will reveal itself. Never abandon a thought.

LIST “A” ( Odd Numbers )

37818-Scripture, Bible
41903-Umbrella, Rain
73817-Attorney, Libel
52168-Television, Shows
57738-Wedding, Bells
70319-Travel, Maps
50705-Singer, Solos
34110-Trees, Limbs
57714-Incline, Hills
61775-Doctors, Pills
50715-Farmer, Silos
39316-Beverage, Java
57719-Fish, Gills
47505-Speed, Races
53045-Laces, Shoes
77244-Mechanic, Tools
55178-Joy, Bliss
34613-Chimney, Roofs
39718-Ships, Bilge
51916-Magic, Wands
57718-Debts, Bills
75146-Boxing, Match
57108-Sterilize, Boils
33408-Chess- Pawns
39317-King, Liege
48373-Eye- Chart
55378-Priest, Bless
35107-Romeo, Juliet
53105-Heels, Soles
79307-Caramel, Apple
55079-Lustre, Gloss
47379-Time, Clock
57734-Devil, Hells
53414-Daily, Paper
57715-Window, Sills
34006-Dentist, Tooth
53907-Cabins, Loges
53709-Light, Bulbs
35007-Hardware, Loose
35107-Hammer, Nails
50907-Company, Logos
47739-Phone, Calls
54915-Soft, Sighs

LIST “B” ( Even Numbers )

66503-Keys, Locks
53751-Emerald, Isles
34357-Ribbon, Bows
35009-Gander, Goose
35908-Marching, Bands
35380-Overweight, Obese
76044-Criminal, Jails
38079-World, Globe
53915-Diamond, Mines
39315-Midieval, Siege
91745-Spider, Webs
58078-Fatty, Blobs
51391-Flag, Staff
53704-Donut, Holes
35591-Library, Books
07734-Greeting, Hello
91531-French, Fries
53507-Gamble, Loses
77203-Numbers, Math
53504-Firemen, Hoses
50153-Knife, Slice
50045-Flies, Shoos
39388-Walking, Stick
53807-Ears, Lobes
03605-Cowboy, Rodeo
53145-Avoids, Shies
59363-Shuttle, Space
77345-Turtle, Shell
77034-Present, Gifts
54914-Lows, Highs
52145-Salad, Bowls
35108-Potato, Boise
37066-Jet, Plane
53708-Cotton, Boles
53780-Baby, Diaper
53080-Woodwinds, Oboes
37606-Thunder, Storm
00791-Eskimo, Igloo
37660-Wicker, Basket
39138-Tan, Beige
53970-Rocking, Chair
53790-Stares, Ogles
00793-Wrist, Watch


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.

Beginner’s Study 10/98-12/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Beginners’s Study 10/98-12/98

October 1998

Forcing Techniques
(A Primer)
Bobby J. Gallo

When I teach, I study my students very carefully. I do not believe in teaching the same things to everyone. I follow the same line of reasoning that the old secret societies used to adhere to (Masons, Kof C, etc.) and that is to teach only those things the individual student is ready to learn. If I feel the student is just in magic class for innocent fun or mere curiosity, that is fine. But that being the case, that person learns a regimen of tricks that may potentially be found on the back of a cereal box. Not to say there is anything wrong with that, some of this material is actually very good and a person can be very busy learning this magic alone. If the person turns out to be a serious amateur at the very least, I now know that this is a person who will likely keep the secrets of magic to him or herself. They are then rewarded with secrets that I feel are more valuable. Or should I say CONCEPTS!

The concept of FORCING is just such an area of magic that I feel should be relegated only to those who are serious about the art. We magicians often fail to realize that the vast majority of layman have absolutely no idea whatsoever that a magician has the ability to influence them in what appears to be a free choice of objects. This is a very powerful thing indeed! I consider the concept of forcing to be one of, if not THE most guarded secrets of magic from my perspective. Therefore, this lesson may indeed be one of the most important the beginning magician can read and study.

Now that I have that out of my system, let me discuss exactly what forcing is. The I.C.O.M Online Magician’s Glossary defines forcing as: Force/Forcing (card): The ability of a performer to make a spectator unwittingly choose an object secretly selected by the magician. One of the most guarded secrets in magic.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is that, if a magician can expertly force an object, the potential for magical effects are virtually limitless. The basis of what could be 1/3 of all card magic is based on forcing of one way or another. Forcing, should be learned by all serious magicians, and once learned, only used in select tricks where you want the most powerful mystical punch. Do not over use forcing…

Forcing can safely be divided into two main categories that we will now discuss.

  • The Forcing of a Playing Card or Number of Cards.
  • The Forcing of a Random Object.

Magicians have been forcing playing cards since the times predating Robert Houdin. However, the of forcing random objects such as silks, coins, food articles, furniture, blimps and moon rocks, though sometimes practiced in various routines, is the exception rather than the rule. Cards are by enlarge are the favorite object of forcing by magicians.

Since the subject of card forcing is so expansive, I am going to start with some example methods of forcing random objects. For the sake of expediency, We will for the time being, leave out the forcing of furniture, blimps and moon rocks <G>.

Before I get into actual methods, I would like to first say that to try and cover all techniques in this lesson would be next to impossible. I will not list all the different methods in what is essentially a ‘primer’ on forcing. This is just a different animal than than something like my earlier Torn Corner Techniques, I.C.O.M Archives, where I was able to be fairly comprehensive. If one wants the entire gamut of forces, I could do no better than to recommend, 202 Methods of Forcing by Annemann, Max Holden 1933. This book may still be available and if the student is interested, may be procured through I.C.O.M for a nominal fee.

But do you need 202 methods?…the answer is NO. You may need only about three or four your entire magical career. I will now do my best to give you the most popular and widely used forces that should serve you well.

Methods for Forcing Random Objects

1.Fortunately for the I.C.O.M student there is an original method for forcing random objects that is only available right here in the archives entitled The Force Of A Spell by Ronald J. Dayton. I encourage all that are interested in forcing to find it in the archives, learn it and use it. It is a brilliant way to force just about anything.

2.The second is the famous and much over used method called Equivoque’. (see I.C.O.M Magician’s Glossary) This method is also called “Magician’s Choice” or “Process of Elimination”. In this method, the spectator has a seemingly free choice of any object on a table. The reality is that they have no choice at all. The magician uses a psychological ruse to make them feel that it was a free selection. Let me illustrate with the following example. Warning: this may be a bit confusing!

Object: The magician wants to force a banana on the spectator for the old pre-sliced banana trick!

  • Four fruits on the table: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana
  • Spectator is asked to point to two objects. (notice I did not say “choose” two objects)
  • If the spectator point to the Lemon and the Banana, the performer eliminates the other two fruits leaving the banana and the other fruit. However, if the spectator selects say the Lemon and the apple, the performer removes those fruits. In other words, the object is that no matter which fruit the spectator selects, the banana must always stay on the table. since you never specified what it means by the spectator selecting the two objects, they naturally assume that what ever you do is fair and above board.
  • Now that you have two fruit on the table, say the banana and the apple, you do it again, but employ another subtle ploy. Say, “now out of these two, point to another one”. If they point to the apple, eliminate it and say “that leaves us with the banana”. If they point to the banana, say “You have freely selected the banana”.

3. The next is an old time counting force that is ultra simple to use but very effective. This time we will use six fruits: Lemon…Apple…Orange…Banana…Kiwi…Peach

Object: The Magician wants to Force the Orange. The set-up must be that the Orange is the third object from the left of the performer.

  • The performer states that he will have the spectator select an object on the table. but in order to have a totally random selection, the spectator is asked merely to give the performer a number from one to six.
  • If the spectator says “one” The performer will spell “one” starting from his left, O-N-E. This lands the performers finger on the orange.
  • The same thing happens if the spectator says T-W-O.
  • Three is the best. The performer then merely counts three from his left, landing on the orange.
  • If four is stated, the performer counts from his right (spectators left) landing on the orange.
  • If five is uttered, the magician spells it starting from his right F-I-V-E. Landing on the orange.
  • Finally, if it is six, the magician spells it starting from his left as in one and two. Starting from his left landing on the orange. S-I-X

4. The last method I will mention is this section deals with use of mechanical devises to force. The popular prop that has been exploited by clown magicians who want to do magic, The Change Bag. This is an excellent way to force small objects. Just have all duplicate objects in one half and a variety of different ones in the other half. Show the different ones and an otherwise empty bag. Drop them all in, make the switch and have a spectator reach in without looking and randomly (?) select an object. Since they are really now all the same, you cannot fail.

To force larger objects this way, Blimps or Large Buildings* for example, Just write the names on slips of paper and proceed as described above.

Methods for Forcing Playing Cards

As I said before, there are almost more ways to force things than one can count and that especially holds true with playing cards. That being said, card forcing can also be divided into two main categories.

  • Forces using a gimmicked (trick) deck of cards.
  • Forces using an ordinary everyday deck of cards.

1. It would not be wise to sit here and explain the working of all the different trick decks on the market. Suffice to say that there are many and some are indeed better than others. Among the classics are:

  • The Svengali Deck
  • The Rough and Smooth Deck
  • The Stripper (Shaved) Deck, (this deck is not ordinarily used for forcing but can with great effect)
  • The One-Way Deck (all cards are the same except for the top and bottom cards)
  • 50/50 Deck (half of the deck are all the same, half are different so that they can be shown)
  • Three-Way Force Deck (each third of the deck consists of the same cards. Used to force three different cards on one or more spectators)
  • Yes, there are more! Incidentally, All of these decks can be purchased through I.C.O.M if desired. Check out our online catalog or e-mail us for prices and availabilities.

2. However, the ambitious magician can dispense with trick decks altogether and be equally effective using a plain old ordinary deck. However, I must state that there is NOTHING WRONG with using a trick deck to force. The only caveat is that there may be times when a crude spectator may grab the deck from the magicians hands. In this case the magician is sunk unless he is using a subtlely gaffed deck such as the stripper (shaved) deck.

We will now examine several classic forcing methods using an ordinary, and semi-ordinary deck. The list is as follows.

  • The Classic Force
  • The Hindu Shuffle Force
  • The Countdown Force
  • The Cross-Cut Force
  • The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force
  • The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*

The Classic Force:

This Classic force may have been the original and is a ‘force’ in every sense of the word, for the spectator is quite literally FORCED to take the card the magician has predetermined. It works like this.

  • The card to be forced is noted and controlled to the top via any number of methods. Once there, the deck is cut. At this point the cards are not completely squared but rather, the spot where the force card lies is held with a pinky break (done by inserting the pinky above the force card hidden and unknown to the audience). The magician notes where the card lies and holds the cards out in a fan. When the magician asked the spectator to take a card he guides the center of the deck, where the force card is, smoothly positioned towards the spectators hands. If you pick a good spectator, they will take the card that is nonchalantly guided to them. That is the classic force.

    In my own work, I have found it to be too risky and not 100% sure-fire. But there are those who swear by this force. Problem is, I’ve never met them.

The Hindu Shuffle Force:

This may be the most popular impromptu force of its kind. And what makes it effective is the fact that it is fairly easy to do “if done properly”. I will tell you how to obtain instructions for the classic method and then I will outline my twist that seems to make it a bit better?

The rather short but complete method for using the hindu force can be found complete with photo illustrations in the I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery.

After reading that description, I would like to relate to the student the method that I actually developed “before” I ever learned to do the classic version of the Hindu Shuffle. This method serves me well to this day.

  • Start by having the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Then instead of grabbing off chunks of card stock as in the original method, thumb off single cards instead.
  • Start slowly then gradually gain speed. After the spectator says “stop”, hold up the remainder of the top stock top let them glimpse the force card.

If this seems a bit unclear, please refer to the Sleight-Of Hand Gallery and read the description of the original method first.

The Countdown Force:

I include this force because it is VERY popular among my beginning students due to its ultra simplicity if not its sheer audacity. Actually, I have fooled a great many people myself with this one.

  • Have the force card on top of the deck.
  • Ask the spectator to name any number from one to ten.
  • Assuming the number was five, ask them to do exactly what you are about to do when you hand them the cards. Proceed to count five cards singly into a neat pile as you count. One, Two, Three, Four, Five.
  • After you have finished, take the pile and replace the cards on top of the deck. What you have done is actually reverse the order of the cards so that the force card is now the fifth card from the top of the deck!
  • Give the spectator the cards and ask them to now do what you did, counting down five cards, the number that THEY chose, and look at the fifth card (the original top force card).
  • Reveal the card as desired.

The Cross-Cut Force:

This force can have no higher praise than to state that it is a favorite of Bill Wisch and has been used on television years ago by none other than the legendary Orson Wells!

  • Have the force card on the bottom of the deck.
  • Tell the audience member to cut the deck anywhere they wish to make two piles.
  • Then to take one pile (the one with the force card) and place it cross-wise onto the other pile.
  • Talk to them for a bit and distract them from what just happened.
  • Then tell them to raise the top pile and peek at the card on the bottom it. (they will assume that this is where they cut the deck and not realize that this was the bottom card, your forced card!

The Corner-Short Force & Slip Force:

The reason that these two are nearly last is because I do not intend to fully explain them here. Rather, I am recommending them for study. You may find both of these forces already expounded upon in the archives and are still available free as of this writing. The Corner Short* can be found explained in a routine called The Perfect Card Trick!? I.C.O.M Archives, as well as on Ultimate Magic Rap Volume #1 Audio Lecture Tape. The Slip Force can be found in a gem called The World’s Quickest Card Trick I.C.O.M Archives.

Also, as a final note on this subject, having the deck prepared with a corner short is what I consider to be a semi-ordinary deck.

The Fordice/Hofsinzer Force*:

This force can be found this month in the Advanced Lab, Check it out!

Basic Sample Routine Using The Card Force As A Vehicle

Before the show starts, remove a duplicate card of the one you intend to force and seal it in an envelope. Then hand this envelope from a string on the far end of the stage where the audience can see it the entire time.

  • Now proceed to force the card that matches the duplicate that is inside the envelope.
  • Have the spectator show it around and place it back into the deck.
  • Shuffle the deck and have the spectator do the same.
  • Take the deck back and pretend to look for it, intentionally failing several times.
  • Tell the audience that do to the fact that you could not find the card, the assisting spectator will get a consolation prize.
  • Go to the far end of the stage and openly take the envelope down and proceed to hand it to the assisting spectator.
  • Have THEM open it up and look inside.
  • After they discover their card, have them show it to the audience and take your bows.

So that it! You now have the means by which many professional magicians have made and are making their livings. Please respect our art and cherish what is contained herein….Thank you!

*This will be the subject of yet another magic technique manuscript coming soon

Levitation Effects for Beginner’s
Bobby J. Gallo

This next offering originally appeared as a Virtual Magic Lesson ™ and is transcribed here for the benefit of all I.C.O.M students…BJG

If you are interested in levitation effects.  There are six as of this writing in the “Archives”.

1)Go Into the Archives and look for the following routines: Kid Show Konservatory: The Stiff Handkerchief Re-Done. 9/97, Streamlined Rising Egg. & In the Beginners Study: The Oldest Dog Of Them All. 2/98: 11/97 Cane Suspension under a section entitled “quickies” & An Experiment in Personal Magnetism. 7/98 The Jennifer Dayton Impromptu Bottle Levitation.

If you have any problems finding the material, let me know and I will walk through the process of accessing the forums. But suffice to say, you just have to click on the appropriate forums to get in.

2)The following is a routine created just for you!  I hope you will like it.

Practical Floating Dollar Bill.
Bobby J.Gallo

(This routine is loosely based on one by a magician named Jean Hugard)

One of the most popular floating effects of the last decade undoubtedly is the “Floating Dollar Bill”  Of course, depending on where you live you will be able to use “any” paper currency that is available.

The method used by most magicians calls for “Invisible thread”.  This enables the magician to perform the effect in very close quarters without the thread being seen, as most effects of this type “use” thread as the means of levitation.  Yes, the old saying that its done with strings is generally true!…especially in this case.

Now, I realize that in some countries it may be impossible to get the same thread that is used by most magicians.  That’s OK, the fact of the matter is, Invisible thread is very hard to work with, and not very dependable anyway.

What I recommend is finding the finest possible black or gray silk thread. This will work fine as well as be considerably stronger as far as breakage. An important fact one must consider when doing thread effects.  It is also much easier to work with since, unlike invisible thread “you” can see it. But properly presented, your audience will not.  After all, the famous “Dancing Cane” uses rather “heavy” thread and it still is not seen from a platform.


From a regular playing card or very stiff paper, cut out two very small pieces and cut small slits in them.  Knot both ends of a six to eight foot length of the silk thread and place each knotted ends into the slitted card pieces.  Now, place two small dabs of tacky wax to each knotted end or in the USA we have a form of all purpose non-toxic putty called “Fun Tack” that sticks to most anything and is removed easily.  Perhaps you have something similar in where you live, check your local stationer for something that can be used.

Now hat you have your magic levitation set-up and your currency note,  you are ready to do a beautiful floating effect.

Before your performance, fix one end of the thread set-up to the back of a chair, bring the other end around to the front of the chair but do not affix that end to anything yet. Just put it on the seat of the chair in preparation of doing your final set-up right in front of the spectators eyes! Display your Bill or borrow one (which is always more impressive).

Now lay the bill on the chair next to the free end of the thread.  Move the chair as though you are looking for a good place to put it.  This is done so that you can easily grasp the free end of the thread along with the dollar bill together without the knowledge of the audience.  Now, at this point it is important to be sure that the thread is not running under the chair and is free of all obstructions.

Now make believe you are fixing your hair and in the process, attach the free end of the thread to your collar.  In rehearsal you will find the best way of doing this.  You may want to attach some “Velcro” to this end of the thread which will attach to another piece previously attached to the collar. Or you may wish to put a loop of thread on the free end and loop it around your ear.  Some magicians have even attached the free end of the thread to a cotton ball and stuck that in the ear.  But that would be very visible and we do not advocate sticking things in your ear.  But it is mentioned here to give you an idea of how things like this can be accomplished.   
Of course there is always the easiest method of all.  That is to have the thread hooked to yourself from the beginning and simply perform your show being careful not to let it get in your way.

Now that the thread is running from your collar to the chair, take the bill and place it so that it touches the top of the thread.  In performance, you must make the audience believe that you are merely holding the bill out in empty space. After all, they must not know that there is a thread running in-between you and the chair.  Crumble the bill up around the thread so that the bill wrapped around the thread. The audience thinks you merely crumbled the bill up at arms length.

Rest the crumbled bill on your palm, make some mystic passes over it with your hand.  Use your best acting ability. Now gradually tighten the thread by very slowly moving your body backwards.  The bill will slowly rise out of your palm and into the air where it will remain suspended defying the laws of gravity!

Now you may pass your hands over and around the floating bill.  You may take a large ring or your magic wand and pass it all around to show the absence of strings (?)  Making sure you do not really touch the string.  You will be surprised at how  much you can do this without ever disturbing the floating dollar.

By nodding the head imperceptibly, you can raise and lower the bill, adding music will also be a major addition to the effect that will create a great atmosphere.

Lastly, be sure to do this in dim light with your audience a sufficient distance from you.  Tell them that if they are not at least (?) feet from you, the mystic aura will not materialize and the experiment will not work.

In closing, I feel that I would be remiss if I did not at least point out some classic magic levitation effects and where to obtain them in the event that you do not feel that this lessons effect is for you.

  • The Zombie: The classic levitation effect. The magician floats a silver ball above a foulard. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Miracle Ball: A less expensive version of the Zombie ball. Also Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Dancing Hankerchief: To be the subject of a future I.C.O.M lesson, watch for it!
  • The Spooky Rising Ball: Similar to “Streamlined Rising Egg” found in the archives, however, no palming is involved with this method. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Rising Cards: A Classic of Magic. Impromptu methods to be the subject of future I.C.O.M lessons.
  • The Floating Glass: A gimmicked version of the “Jennifer Dayton Impromptu bottle levitation”. Available through I.C.O.M
  • The Floating Light Bulb: The illusion that the legendary Blackstone made famous! Available through I.C.O.M

There are others that we will also cover in the times ahead. In the meantime, I think that you have a lot to work with here.

Good luck and let us know how it works out!

Bobby J. Gallo 

Note: This Virtual Lesson is for I.C.O.M members only, and may be used for future I.C.O.M forums. Copyright 1998 International Conservatory Of Magic

November 1998

Bobby J. Gallo

This trick is coming to you fresh. What do I mean by that? Well, most of the time, authors of effects, including myself, will tell you that what they are sharing has been developed through years of trial and error. This is not the case with this lesson. As a matter of fact, this effect and its method, for myself, have been discovered within three weeks of this writing. So that being the case, let me back track three weeks to give you a look at events as they transpired. And in doing so, teach you the routine in the process.

Three weeks ago I found myself outside of Atlanta Georgia performing at the University Of Georgia. Part of my “Sharing The Magical Spotlight ‘With You’ Tour”. As with all of my college dates, I am engaged to perform for one solid hour. Any college performer can tell you, that when working in these extremely difficult venues, only the best and most foolproof magic should be used. The college circuit is an extremely discriminating market, and you have to be very, very good to work it.

My show was going very well that night. As a matter of fact, it was going so well that I lost control of my pacing and found myself rushing through routines because of the adrenaline rush I was getting due to the great response of the audience. Come to think of it, I’ve just decided, pacing should, and will be the subject of a future lesson. It is very important.

I had gone through my entire show and knew that I had only “one more” routine to perform, and that was my closing number. Well, when I looked up at the clock I discovered that I still had fifteen minutes to go! Whoops!, my closing number runs just under 9 minutes. Uh, Oh, what to do? I could not run the show short. I travelled about 600 miles and the school was paying a nice amount of money for the show. I was obligated to give them a solid hour. All I had left were the playing cards I had in my pocket, and one deck on the table.

Ok, I know lots of tricks right? But what can I do on a stage? During the time I was pattering to the audience and asked someone to the stage, (I knew I would need a spectator no matter what I did) I needed to decide on a trick. I considered Joe Karsons “World’s Fastest Card Trick” But that involved making sport of the assisting audience member. And I did not get a good vibe during this show concerning that particular trick. The person was almost at the stage when the old classic, You-Do-As-I-Do popped into my head. No time to waste, I had to do it. Only problem was, I HAD NEVER BEFORE PERFORMED THAT TRICK! I said to myself, how hard could it be, it only involved the use of a key card. A concept I am well familiar with.

Here we go, I gave one deck to the spectator and one kept one for myself. I asked the spectator to shuffle the cards. (which by the way she did expertly!) I did the same. We then exchanged decks. Oh no, I forgot to peek at the bottom card of my deck before I handed it to her to note the key card! No Problem… I told her that “we had to place psychic vibes into the cards or the experiment would not work”. I told her to “take the deck and give it another shuffle!!! and another!!!” Now I said, “hold the deck up to your head like me.”(See Fig.#1) I held up the deck with the bottom card facing her and she did the same. HER KEY CARD WAS STARING ME IN THE FACE! I did all I could to not burst out laughing. After we chanted a little, which as very funny, I asked her to “look through her deck and pick out a card, any card.” I told her I would do the same. In my case it made no difference which card I selected.

Fig. #1

After she selected a card I asked her to do as I did and “place the card on top of her deck. Cut the cards, again, again, again, Now, lets switch decks. I told her to go through my deck and located her card as I would go through her deck and locate my card.” I simply looked for the key card that I spotted when she held the deck up earlier, and knew the next card would be her chosen selection.

We both held our cards out backs to the audience when I said “on the count of three, we are both going to turn our cards over at the same time to see what we have each selected. One…two…three…!” When we turned our cards over and they matched. THE CROWD WENT NUTS…I MEAN THEY WENT WILD! I could not believe that this effect was so unbelievably strong. Two weeks later, I did it again at another college. Russell Sage College in Troy New York. I got the same reaction. Only there I had a little miracle take place. When the spectator looked through my deck to find her card, It wasn’t there! The deck just so happened to be missing card and it was the spectators selection! So in the eyes of the audience, not only did I find the spectators card, but I made it vanish from my deck as well! If only that could happen at a magician’s convention, they would be following me around for years wondering how I did that!

So, Why do I call this You-Do-As-I-Adieu? The key is in the word Adieu, or goodbye. This trick is so strong you can close a show with it. In other words, do it, then say goodbye! Go through this story, and try it out. You will love it. Want a brief overview? Ok…

  • Have Two Decks of Cards, one for you, and one for the spectator.
  • Both Shuffle.
  • Exchange decks.
  • Shuffle again.
  • Hold decks up to foreheads and chant an ancient mantra, noting the bottom card (key card) of the spectators deck. This is my stumbled upon variation which allows the cards to be shuffled after the decks have been switched.
  • Both select a card (remember, yours doesn’t matter).
  • Place cards on top of decks, cut three times.
  • Exchange decks again.
  • Look through cards for your respective selections. (you look for key card, card following key is the spectators choice. Take it out).
  • Hold cards out with backs towards the audience. On the count of three turn them over.
  • Watch the faces of the audience, jaws drop followed by standing ovation.
  • Send letters of thank you to Bobby J. Gallo! (just kidding…send e-mail!)

Co-Director’s Notes: This next lesson originated as a “Virtual Magic Lesson” for one of our students overseas. Over there, they have only heard about the linking card effect. So with that in mind, I developed what I believe is an original handling of the effect. I do however, give credits where I felt appropriate. I hope you enjoy and use it…BJG

Devil’s Play-Link
Bobby J. Gallo

Fig: #4

The following linking card routine contains elements from virtually all who have tread the “trendy” premise of applying the classic “Linking Ring” effect to playing cards.

Among those who should be credited off the top would be Paul Harris and an English magician named “Crabtree” who marketed a manuscript version of the linking cards around the same time the Harris version was released years ago. I believe it was called “The Crabtree Connection”. The date of publication escapes me. It was released through Supreme who is now defunct. Portions of this handling are also credited to Ed Marlo and a generous amount of work done by “yours truly”.

Two cards cards are removed from a deck and are folded in half “width-wise””. Now either a pair of scissors are used to cut out a large hole in the center of both cards (see: Fig #1.). Alternately, you may rip the cards manually, but this is more difficult and not as neat looking. This being done, the magician is left with two pasteboard card-rings. (nothing like an onion ring) The magician now proceeds link and unlink the rings. A third card may introduced and all three are made to penetrate one another. At the end, the cards may be examined.

Fig #1.

You will need a duplicate card of the one you are going to use as your linking “key card”. With this, you need to tear or cut a small slit in the side as you will see in the graphic, (see: Fig #1.). Place this card into the deck proper and take the duplicate and make an ungimmicked ring with it. Place this under the table on the lap ready to do a switch at the end of the routine. The creative student may also wish to use the switch of their choice to accomplish this.

Fig #2.

In performance, remove the card with the slit from the deck as well as an indifferent one holding both as though you were holding only “one” card. Then proceed to cut (recommended) or tear out the centers to create your “ring” cards. Unfold the cards being sure to hide the key card slit in-between the forefinger and thumb.

To perform the first link, hold both cards as in (Fig #2.), By sliding the ungimmicked card onto the “key Card” you can easily link it on. I’m am sure that the student will probably find a “feel” that will best suit him as far as linking an unlinking goes (Fig #3).

Now after you have exhausted all the moves you would like to use, (recommended reading would be “Rings In Your fingers” by Dariel Fitzkee) it is time for the climax which is handing all out for examination. This can be done in two ways.

1) Do not hand them out at all! This is done by applying a light coat of rubber cement to the edged of the slit and “tearing” the cards. (you are going to need beveled edged which are not achieved when cutting). After the routine, press the edges together to “seal the cards together” A nice finish could be to leave the cards linked and then display them on the tip of your finger letting them get a close “look”.

2) Perform a switch, switching the ungimmicked card on your lap for the gimmicked one. An easy way to accomplish this is to lean over the table to hand the ungimmicked card (with the right hand) to one person to examine while the left hand containing the gimmicked card goes below the table and makes the switch.

3) My favorite conclusion is to use a GAG ending that I stumbled upon. After all of the moves are completed I ask the spectators if they would like to examine the cards. After the say YES, (and they always do) I proceed to say, “Sure, no problem, because I have nothing to hide as these are truly ordinary playing cards, you see they even rip like everyday playing cards!” I then proceed to tear them to shreds and sprinkle them on the table in front of the spectator inviting them to examine the remains all they want! Not only does this get a laugh, but it leaves you CLEAN! Think about it…

This routine can also be performed using a third card to make it even more showy and involved (see Fig. #4). In a way, this makes takes the heat off the “key card” even further due to the fact that there is an extra card for the spectators to watch.

Fig. #3

December 1998

Ultra-Simplified Spelling Trick
Bobby J. Gallo

Here is a dynamite, professional quality effect that literally knocks people out. I have used this in my close-up program for years and recently made its way into Bill Wisch’s bag of tricks as well. So that tells you how effective it must be.

Effect: The performer states that he is going to perform the “classic feat of all card magic”. The one where the spectator picks a card and the magician finds it. Easy right? Well, things are not always as they seem says the magician.

A card is selected and returned to the deck. The deck is cut and shuffled. Then the magician, upon running through the cards, takes a card out and with a triumphant look on his face, throws it down onto the table stating that it is the very card that the spectator selected. His glory is short lived however, the audience informs the magician that the card is the wrong one!

The wonder worker then states that when he messes up this trick there is only one recourse of action and that is to have the card find itself!

The performer now asks the spectator to reveal the identity of the card. Upon doing so, the magician WITHOUT ANY SLEIGHT-OF-HAND OR MOVES AT ALL, takes the deck and spells the name of the card. Dealing one card onto the table for every letter of the name. When the last letter is reached, the magician turns the card over and it is indeed the selected card…The crowd roars!

A deck of playing cards.

Method: This really is an easy effect to do. All that is needed is to glimpse the bottom card (key card) after the shuffled deck is handed back to you. Once the card is selected have it returned and undercut the bottom half of the deck so that the key card lands directly above the selection. I prefer to use the Vernon key card placement, but merely cutting the cards will do.

After the card has been selected and returned (with the key card cut to the top of the selection) proceed as in the description. You may even false shuffle and false cut the deck if you desire but in truth, I never do.

Look through the cards until you come to the key card. From there you know that the card just to the right of the key card is the selection. Let’s say for example that it is the six of clubs. Starting with the six, spell the card mentally going from right to left card by card. It must look to the audience as though you are still trying to locate the spectators card. Little do they know you are actually setting up the trick right in front of thier eyes!!!

. Now as soon as you come to the last card that spells the six of clubs, throw out the very next card as the one you pretend to think is the selection. As they look at this card, cut the deck at this point and you will find that the selected card is now at the very last letter when the six of clubs is spelled out. And that is all there is to it!


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