I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 7/98-9/98

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

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

July 1998

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part IX



Do not forget to provide general and special lighting for your magical performances, whenever possible.


As Dr. OM is writing this June issue of his treatise, he is sitting in a deck chair on the passenger loading platform of the Arlington, Vermont Train Station. No, he is not waiting for a train; he is visiting the station, now the home, art studio, and gallery of his good old friend, Dr. Harold Lemmerman. Dr. Lemmerman and Dr. OM worked for many long years together at New Jersey, City University; Dr. Lemmerman as Scene Designer, and Dr. OM as Artistic Theatre Director.
Now retired, Dr. Lemmerman is permanently settled in Arlington. If you are ever on vacation in southern Vermont, just over the New York border, drop in to visit “DOC” and chat about scenic design and construction. He will love to see you. Note Dr. Lemmerman vs rendering of his new home, below:


Driving to school each morning, on the New Jersey Turnpike, Dr. OM traverses a stretch of road which passes alongside a radio transmitter, with the consequence that the station being broadcast annoyingly intrudes upon the station of Dr. OM’s choice. Both signals are of about the same intensity, and yet, Dr. OM, by concentrating, is able to screen out the unwanted station and continue listening to the station he wants to hear.

Pianists, harpists, and guitarists, among other instrumentalists are able to divide the mind, in order to function with both right and left hands. Motorists, organists, and percussionists are able to function with both hands and feet simultaneously.

Lesson: So, too, must the performing magician be able to divide attention between, not only the hands and foot placement, but also between the business of magician’s technique and the business of acting when executing magical effects. Practice and rehearsal makes possible the same kind of eventual subconscious control an experienced driver employs. When such happens, the magician has achieved mastery.

In magical performance, practice is for achieving technical skill and for experimenting with the internal routining of an effect toward growth and improvement; rehearsal is for sequencing the effects, both skillfully and dramatically toward the culmination of an integrated act.

Back home again from school, Dr. OM, standing in the front yard of his home, was taught another magical lesson, this time by Mother Nature, herself. He suddenly became aware of pink and white crab apple blossoms and seeds cascading onto the lawn. They had been shaken down by the intelligent intent of a squirrel which was too well camouflaged among the branches and leaves for Dr. OM to see; had they not been so shaken down by the squirrel, a gust of wind would have inevitably done the job, because the seeds were fat, loose, and ready to pop, at the slightest provocation.

The events, as they happened, provide a small glimpse of the grand design of nature: the squirrel eats some seeds shaken to the ground by whatever means; overlooks some seeds leaving them on the ground; swallows and digests some seeds; and eliminates some undigested seeds, in accordance with the cause and effect plan of nature which, thus, germinates new crab apple tree offspring; but without awareness of the apparent causes, the effects seem truly magical. Lesson: In stage magic, when the cause is not apparent, the effect seems wrought by magic. The causes must be kept hidden, either by mechanical means such as camouflage, gimmick, gaff, or by misdirection or sleight of hand. Sleight of hand is a translation from the French: LEGERDEMAIN, or: LEGER (light); DE (of); and MAIN (hand), i.e., literally:LIGHT OF HAND, or, figuratively: LIGHT FINGERED. The English language has a way of contracting words, In the same way that GOD’S BLOOD became OD’S BLOOD and GOD HAVE MERCY became GRAMMERCY, as in GRAMMERCY PARK, so, too: IS LIGHT OF HAND became: S’LIGHT OF HAND, and eventually: SLEIGHT OF HAND; and by further abbreviational corruption, finally became merely: SLEIGHT.

During the two weeks prior to Dr. OM’s visit to Arlington to arrange a series of magical and musical performances throughout the coming month of August, through Dr. Lemmerman’s venue contacts in southern Vermont, Dr. Om had performed four magic floor shows and three musical shows with his musical partner Marcel Guttierez. Two of the magic shows were exclusively for children (and their parents, of course). On the day of his return from Vermont, Dr. OM was stricken by a strange malady. After several visits to his fine physician, four hours in a hospital emergency room, and consultation with a Contagious Disease Specialist, Dr. OM’s ailment was diagnosed as: FIFTH DISEASE, a sickness Dr. OM had never before heard of. Undoubtedly, he had contracted the illness at one of his magic shows for children. Lesson: Dr. OM recommends that he and other entertainers of children consult with our physicians about safeguarding against children’s diseases, which have a way of afflicting adults much more severely than they do children. Suffice to say, Dr. OM spent twelve days flat on his back in bed.

Mrs. OM enjoys watching the figure skaters on television. Occasionally, Dr. OM watches with her for company, but not without his own pleasure. Some skaters are skillful, some are athletic, some are graceful, and some are poetic. All are beautiful in the special way that only youth can be, but poetry wins out-poetry in motion.

Technically, the attention to detail and the split second timing are impressive. A performing magician can learn much from the movement and choreography of skaters and dancers.

The synchronization with music is quite astounding. The physical prowess of the skaters is awe inspiring, but the poetry, when the poetry happens, is the moment of art. The analog here with poetic magical performance is obvious. Magicians are poets more than athletes. All too often, magical performance is conceived of as a sport, rather than an art. The science of magic must be transmuted into the art of magic.

Please forgive Dr. OM for what might seem to be presumption. At times such as this he is writing as a critic rather than an artist magician, with full awareness that his own performance is subject to the criticism he makes. Alas, Dr. OM will never achieve the goal, but winning closer is the game. Ultimately the magician who lives every moment of his life as magician, in his secret heart aspires to be able to perform non-physical magic without props and clap-trap, to truly make authentic miracles happen; to utter the “spirit ditties of no tone,” as the poet John Keats put it; yes: “heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.”

Getting back to earth, the idealism of the artist magician must be seen as achievable only through the material of his art. The artist is a materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art; who creates magical illusions. Magicians have gone off the deep end in the necessary belief that what they do is real magic. In an old second rate film starring actor Paul Newman, in his first major role, supporting actor Jack Palance plays the part of the court magician, in the setting of ancient Roman times. Unfortunately for Jack, who has built a high tower from the top of which he is to magically fly, he deludes himseaccommodate into believing he can fly without the rig he has invented. Of course, like Icarus, he falls to his death. No, the artist is a realist and materialist who intimates spirit through the material of his art, and yet, the magician must infuse illusion with belief; belief breeds belief. There is a difference between belying and believing. what should magical material then be; what should constitute the repertoire?

Directors Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch have posed a question for Dr. OM’S consideration, as follows:

why do certain tricks work for some magicians but not for others?

Dr. OM’s response to the question takes the form of the checklist which follows:

1) Does the effect suit the personality of the magician’s persona?

2)Is the magician physically capable of performing the effect vis-a-vis: strength, skill, dexterity, and mental acuteness, e.g: can he lift his assistant onto the broomstick, without toppling over, as Dr. OM has.

3) Is the effect too replicative of another effect performed in the repertoire, vis-a-vis prop appearance or magical form, ie: too many cut and restored, penetrations, or transpositions?

4) Is the effect a performance item too identifiable with another local or national magician, especially televised?

5) How well does the effect generally fit into the sequence of effects comprising the entire act; does one effect flow smoothly into the next?

6) Is there building from one effect to the next toward a climax of the entire act?

7) Ultimately, how does the effect play before audiences? Is there consistent positive response in the form of applause or other reaction to the effect?

ADVISORY: Reading descriptions of magical effects is the most economical way to discover appropriate items for the repertoire. The old saw: “Never be the first by whom the new is tried, nor yet the last to put the old aside,” is not necessarily true in magic. New and original inventions are always worth trying, and age old classics, like old wine in new bottles, will be brought to new life by imaginative and novel presentations.

During the seven years Dr. OM’s granddaughter, Allcia, and her parents were living with Dr. and Mrs. OM, they shared many happy hours together. On one occasion when Alicia was about seven years of age, she brought home with her for a play day her little friend, Yu, and Dr. OM performed magic for them. when he had finished the performance, little Yu turned quite spontaneously to Allcia, saying:

“Oh, Allcia, you’re so lucky to have a grandfather who is a magician.” Alicia shot back, sardonically: “Yeah, but you don’t have to live with it.” Lesson: “A prophet is never appreciated in his own country,” or, as Gertrude Stein put it: “I write (perform) for myself and people who don’t know me.” Close friends and family see the magician as himself, rather than the persona he projects. They know him too well to see his character; his well known real self gets in the way.

The fact is that Alicia has quite a sense of humor, and does enjoy Dr. OM’s magic. when she was small, Dr. OM named the squirrels in the yard for her amusement. There were Nutsy and his wife Hazel (Dr. OM could never really tell them apart), and their offspring, among which was the runt of the litter. The tiny fellow had no difficulty eating the bird seed, but he was so short legged that he would trip over a slice of white bread held in his mouth by its crust. Day after day, Alicia and Dr. OM watched him tripping, over and over again, until one morning he stopped dead in his tracks, as if an idea had struck him, extended his tiny paws underhandedly under the slice of bread, and folded it over grasping the opposite edge of crust with his teeth without letting go of the other edge. He had successfully folded the slice of bread in half and could easily run with it held in his mouth. Thereafter, Dr. OM observed him performing the same trick, over and over again, and therefore named him Einstein.

Dr. OM has never before nor since ever observed a squirrel perform the same feat. Generations of Nutsys and Hazels and their children have come and gone, but never another such as Einstein. Thinking about the genius of Einstein, the squirrel, Dr. OM concludes that, although others might explain his act as instinctive, perhaps reasoning that squirrels had done so with large leaves to line their nests, since time immemorial, he, Dr. OM, had never seen a squirrel perform the same act with a leaf; and squirrels, after all, have been around a long time before sliced bread. No, the act was a sheer act of genius. Necessity IS the mother of invention, and Nutsy I and Hazel I’s son was the Einstein of the squirrel world. Lesson: Give a personally inventive twist to everything you do in magic. lf a squirrel can do it, so can you. Take it from Dr. OM, there is no such thing as a squirrel proof birdfeeder.


Directors Bobby Gallo and Bill Wisch have asked Dr. OM to give attention to the use of program music in a magic act. The first act of Dr. OM’s own stage show is pantomimically set to music. During intermission he (one man act that he must be) fades out the first act music and brings up the interlude and second act music. Given that his stage act is componentially composed, the first act stands alone as a nightclub or restaurant floor show, causing no problem with working the sound track. For parlour shows or extended floor shows, he goes right into the vocal second act without intermission, allowing the music of the first act to run out as it will. Magical effects are added to the longer versions of the act and cut from the shorter versions of the act to accommodate physical life transitions and the special nature of the audience, but essentially, the show remains pretty much the same. Items cut are usually those which perform well on stage but do not perform well closer up because of angle and other visual considerations. In no case is any effect added or cut at such a juncture in the act as will disrupt the synchronization between physical life action and sound track. The advantage is that when one act serves multi-purposes, concerted effort can be given to practice and rehearsal-the act is everything.

Again, as in all, prevails the demand to suit the music to the personality of the magician’s persona and the theme of each routine contained in the act, be it comedically whimsical, emotionally romantic, or seriously dramatic. Commercially prepared background music tapes and and CD’s are offered on the market, for magical productions. Dr. OM has found a satisfactory combination of selections drawn from both such specialized recordings and a variety of general music-for- listening recordings. He is about to extend into especially composed and recorded original music to embellish his prerecorded sound track; perhaps with voice-over recitations of his own poetry and his own vocal renditions of original and standard songs. At present, adding the original elements is in the planning and experimental stage.

“Splicing” the selections is not difficult to do, especially if the PAUSE, rather than the STOP button of the tape recorder is used. However, even when unwanted low level juncture noise occurs, it passes quickly and usually unnoticeably during the course of performance, because program music, at its best, provides background without being obtrusive; the music should underpin the act but not dominate the act. The music should appeal to the audience subconscious, rather than conscious attention. Of course a seamless recording is always to be desired, given the necessary technological advantage of high quality equipment or the services of a recording studio. Use music is best of all, but show bands and orchestras to perform special arrangements are rare in most venues these days. In the old days, not only would a live musical organization provide nearly perfectly coordinated program music, but musicians in the front row were enlisted by the magician as assistants who would clandestinely slip him props during the course of the show.

However, carefully selected recorded program music as an alternative to live music can favorably enhance the rhythm, timing, and flow of manipulative magic with cards, balls, and rings, and does emphasize the comedic, romantic, and dramatic moods contained in an act.

In practice sessions with card slights and effects other than manipulative, Dr. OM finds that music lends an evenness and rhythm to his handling, even though no music is to be utilized during walk-around performance, in his customary restaurant venues. The ear picks up the rhythms and transmits them to the hands. The ear picks up the mood of the music and infuses the magician’s sensibility. For walk-around, Dr. OM prefers brief, snappy, visual effects performable in the magician’s and the spectator’s hands. The mood he intends is light-hearted and playful. The music he most prefers practicing to for these purposes are the light-hearted songs of Carlo Buti. Such stylistic choices are extremely personal and only the individual magician himself can make them.
Another practical deficiency in controlling music in a one man act without the assistance of a sound technician or live musicians, is that of graduating the intensity of the music such that it does not drown out the verbal life (patter). Music underlying verbal life must be even less obtrusive than background music to pantomime. Thoughtful selection of musical segments with special attention to their intensity and functional placement as program music in the act can alleviate the problem.

In addition to the thematic emphasis music provides, is the time period setting establishment. An ultra modern act will employ ultra modern music; a traditional act will employ traditional music.

Generally, vocal musical background sung by well known professional vocalists is unadvisable, because the audience will recognize the vocalist and the association resulting psychologically detracts from the performance at hand. Dr. OM has found this to be true of ice skating performances which employ songs sung by the late and great Frank Sinatra, or another well known singer. The great artist singer does not need the embellishment provided by the skaters, and audience focus of attention may well shift from the skating to the singing. Besides, there is something akin here to the amateurism of pantomimists of the twenties, thirties, and forties, especially, who visually “sang along” with Rudy Valee, Bing Crosby. or Nat Cole. The less recognizable the source of the music, the better. Even, too famIliar classical, jazz, or popular instrumentals can distract an audience, if only with the thought: “Can’t this guy find his own music?” Ideally, program music should be composed and performed live especially for an act. who would want to attend an announcedly new musical play contrived of songs stolen from George Gershwin, Rogers and Hart, and Gerome Kern? A recital, yes; a new original act, no. Unfortunately, in magic, the ideal is seldom possible, except for high budget acts.

Nevertheless, if carefully selected and re-recorded, canned program music can be most effective and greatly enhance even the low budget magic show. The low budget should be regarded as an additional challenge inventively and artistically met in every aspect of magical theatre. when such is accomplished, the management of program music can set the mood and help to tell the story of an act by subconsciously affecting the audience sensibility and stimulating the sharing of an illusion, the suspense, and the excitement, of a magical performance. The components of presentation transform a mere puzzle into magical entertainment. Without presentational aesthetic a magical effect remains a trick. Program music can play a great part in aesthetic presentation. A cardinal rule of performance might be expressed as: Do not imitate; rather, assimilate and become an original. Any rule of art may be broken, but if you break a rule, be sure to break it beautifully.


Written composition is effected in one of two modes: 1) the prose mood; and 2) the poetic mode. Dr. OM, throughout this present series of articles, has been employing each of the two modes, as he sees appropriate to the subject matter at hand. Therefore, Dr. OM presents to his readers his poem: PSALM FOR SOME, to better express that, as is true of all performing artists, the artist of magic is a risk taker who must be careful not to reveal the secrets of his art to the general public, either by performing ineptly, or by being unscrupulously profit motivated enough to engage in roguish public exposes, thereby betraying the ancient trust of the magic fraternity.


The first law is survival and we do what we must to survive. We are not hypocrites, but we walk the jungle paths cautiously, avoiding this, or that twig of betrayal. We move in shadows wearing borrowed fleece, disguised in the flock, hurting no one but ourselves, letting no blood but our own, and if discovered, butchered, on the hewn block of mutual agreement. Ours is a life of moments stolen from the great hour glass of convention; ours is the day of stars eclipsing pretense with the bright light of emotion. In the valley of the shadow of death, we call upon no one, and yet, when prayers are answered, ours will be the first.

NOTE: The celebratory August 1998 issue will initiate the magicschool program of study on four successive levels: 1) Rudimentary magic; 2) Intermediate magic; 3) Advanced magic; and 4) Master Class.

The following is composed of material that is always handy to have around. These creative, comedic lines can be used to “spice-up” an act giving an added comedy touch that can be so crucial to good entertainment…BJG

I.C.O.M-edy Lines
Ronald J. Dayton

1. Show a card which is bent in ripple fashion and say; ” Psychic’s Key Card!”

2. A theology student once told me no one could play cards on the Arc. Noah was standing on the deck.

4. Never play cards for big stakes if you are a vegetarian!

5. Strange, isn’t it?  Gambler’s earn a living holding hands.

6. Egg Bag Line:  ” Oh, don’t worry. It didn’t vanish. It just got mis-laid. “

7. Opening Line:  ” Good evening ladies and third time offenders…”

8. The acoustics must be bad in here, I couldn’t hear the applause!”

9. I went to see another magician’s show the other night, just to see what MY act looked like.

August 1998

Magical Commandments
Mike Fordice PhD

The following list of “commandments” has been prepared based on actual experiences over the years. Take them for what they are worth–friendly advise!…Mike F.

I. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request “that trick you did 19 club meetings ago.”

II. Thou shalt not blast intense flashes of light into spectators’ eyes. (ie, FISM Flash is NOT a close-up tool)

III. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, announce “I was going to buy that, but I didn’t think it was that good.”

IV. Thou shalt not, in the middle of a performance, request the source of the routine and/or trick being performed.

V. Thou shalt not take all the punch lines from the performer. (This particularly applies to those who are not performing, but cannot stand the fact that they are not!)

VI. Thou shalt not announce that: “I would never buy that effect because I make all that sort of thing myself.”

VII. Thou shalt not interrupt the performance complaining that the salad dressing is not your favorite kind.

VIII. Thou shalt not ask why the performer has more that one deck of cards in his close-up case.

IX. Thou shalt, prior to performance or quietly on the side, request the performance of a particular routine which you know the performer routinely performs.

X. Thou, as a magician, shalt lead the applause and appreciation of the performer.

Co-Director Notes: When I first read these commandments years ago that Mike wrote, they didn’t mean much to me as a fledgling semi-pro. Now after years as a full-time professional magician, I re-read them and can honestly say, that I was rolling on the floor laughing. Some times the truth is funnier than fiction…BJG

September 1998

Co-Directors Notes: The reason we offer so much material every month is partly due to the fact that not everything will be for everyone. The following is such a piece. I am attempting to relate this to the reader before the mountain of e-mail starts to come in asking what much of this information pertains to. The bottom line is that the following contains facinating and educational trivia and information for those already familiar with many of the classic personalitites in magic history. It is priceless in that regard. If you do not understand some of it, that’s ok, someday you will re-read this and realize it is one of the best articles you have ever read! However, the part on coins should be read by everyone …BJG

Ron Dayton

An interesting book title,  mirroring the name of a classic illusion  to be created by Robert Harbin decades later, was mentioned  by Walter Gibson in a Jinxiana article, in The Conjuror’s Magazine, Vol. 5, No. 1, March 1949.  A gentleman named Fulton Oursler had contacted Ted Anneman in hopes of learning the author of a book called, ” Zigzag the Magician.”  A huge part of the plot of this book had to do with the way Zigzag stopped a panick in a theater by steering the audience safely outdoors when a fire threatened.  Years later, a Reader’s Digest account attributed just such cool thinking in the face of danger, and attributed it to Harry Blackstone…who also saved a theater full of people in the exact same manner.  The unknown author and creator of Zigzag, may well have had a premonition, a sense of prophecy…or, was it simply fate??

Mr. Gibson reported in yet another article of Jinxiana the Ted Anneman had done extensive experimentation with the spinning of coins to see if any in particular would come up one side more often than the other.  He noted that the head side of a Buffalo nickle varied from the depth of the stamped tail side…and wondered if this difference would affect the end result of a spin.  As it turned out, one side did not favor the other.. but we should applaud  his sense of wonder. As it turned out, Mr. Gibson discovered that a Canadian King GeorgeV nickel did indeed favor one side over another.  In this instance, the head side came up the vast majority of the time.  It had been a year or more since Anneman began the search, and Gibson carried the thought on.

The point I am making to I.C.O.M members is this.  The principle may well apply today as it did then.  If students here in the US, as well as those abroad take the time to look…perhaps you too may discover a coin which may be used to force heads or tails as well.  Personally, I think it would be worth the look.

By July of 1949, Walter Gibson reported that the ‘way’  Ted Anneman’s publication, ” The Jinx ” got its name, had almost been forgotten.  Now, fifty years later,  I doubt all but the most dyed in wool  historian would know.  I thought perhaps the members of I.C.O.M might enjoy this bit of trivia.

Prior to the appearance of Genii magazine in the early 1930’s, the only publication available was ” The Sphinx.”  Magicians of the day began to playfully fool around, kidding about the lack of  choices.  They gave the publication nicknames…ones which rhymed with Sphinx…and ones which were not always kind.  One of the names that caught on in the New York area was Jinx.

Every friday, when the Sphinx would come out, magicians would enter Holden’s magic shop and ask if the Jinx was in yet.  Anneman, quick to see the value in this, produced his magazine, and called it the ” Jinx “.  He timed its release and appearence with that of the Sphinx.  When the boys came in to Holden’s shop and asked their usual question…he said a resounding, ” Yes!”  And the very first issue of ” The Jinx ” was a total sell-out because of it.

In yet another suppliment of Jinxiana, Gibson reported on exactly how Burling Hull came to devise the ‘ long and short ‘ principle found in the Svengali pack, and others. It began as an effort on the part of Hull to disguise a one-card forcing deck.  What he did was to take one half of the forcing deck and  shuffle in an equal number of cards from an ordinary deck…dove-tail fashion.  The cards were not pushed flush.

After seeing for himself the success of this arrangement which showed one card when riffled at one end, and mixed cards when riffled at the opposite end, the next logical advancement for Hull was to shorten the force cards…and so, that is what Burling Hull did.  The rest is magical history.

A very humorous story comes from a billboard ad which ran in the 1930’s for Blackston Cigars.  The ad read;  Blackstone…Extremely Mild.  Upon seeing the ads,  Harry Blackstone Sr. slapped covering stickers over the ‘extremely mild’ part, which advertised which theater he would be playing at that week.

At first, the cigar company was angered…but then, they saw both the humor and the potential for themselves in what Blackstone the magician had done. This resulted in the running gag of the time for the Blackstone show being, Blackstone….Extremely Mild.

One day shortly there after, John Calvert visited Blackstone in his Los Angeles dressing room.  Someone present opened a magazine, and pointed to the Cigar company quotation, where upon another visitor turned to a different page which carried an ad for a popular adult beverage which read…” Calvert is Milder! “

Martin Gardner was a man who followed the trail of  the elusive gambler, S. W. Erdnase, just as a detective follows the clues to solve a crime.  The reward Gardner and others have hoped to achieve was the confirmation of this mans true identity. The life of Erdnase is filled with mystery and intrigue…as well as the possibility of a crime as violent as murder.

Many first class accounts of this search for the man called Erdnase have appeard in print since, but, one of the very first was within the pages of  ” The Conjuror’s Magazine “, August 1949.

Mr. Gardner located and interviewed the man who illustrated the book  Erdnase was said to have authored…” The Expert At The Card Table,”  which was released as a privately published work in 1902 by Chicago printers J. McKinney and Co.

The artist was Chicago illustrator Marshall D. Smith.  He confirmed to Mr. Gardner that the man he met in Chicago to discuss the lay-out of the work had come to Chicago from New York.  He did not recall the man’s first name, but  stated as fact that his last name was Andrews.  Gardner was quick to reveal that Andrews spelled backwards gives the name, S. W. Erdnase(maj).  It is my own personal flight of fantasy to think that maj might be short for maji!?

The New York directory for 1909 lists a James J. Andrews, occupation; clairvoyant as living on Sixth Avenue.  Further, an article which appeared in the 1909 issue of Harper’s Weekly  was written by one S. W.Erdnase.  In the article, he describes himself as being a thin, blonde, blue-eyed, nervous American. This matches the description Mr. Smith gave of the man he met,  Mr. Andrews.

Oddly enough,  Mr. Gardner also reports that within the Harper’s article,  this man who supposedly authored the article also refers to himself as being Abdul Aziz Khan!!

And so dear reader…the mystery continues to this very day.  It is still debated, and, the search for Erdnase goes on.

Coming in October

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.


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.

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Advanced Lab 7/98-9/98

You are now in the section devoted “challenging magic”. This forum features top effects that usually require a higher degree of sleight-of-hand to accomplish their ultimate goal. It may also contain effects that are a bit more advanced as far as presentation, overall difficulty of execution, or unique props that need to be made or obtained. Overall, this is magic of the highest quality that all are welcomed to try and perfect. This is the forum that makes the master magician…

July 1998

Twin Influence
Mike Fordice

At the February 1984 meeting of SAM Assembly #168, President Ed Yankowich there presented an interesting card effect. Ed mentioned that this was not an original effect and that he did not remember the source. The effect did not have a name, so I have picked the name “Twin Influence.” At that time, I prepared a description of the effect. Now, some 14 years later I still like the effect, so here it is!

Two cards which are freely chosen by two spectators are removed from a deck of cards (may be borrowed and/or shuffled by spectators). The performer deals cards from the pack until each spectator calls stop and the chosen cards are inserted face up into the deck. When the deck is spread the two cards are seen face up (as returned to the deck). The two face-up cards are removed with the card directly above (ie, face to face cards). Those cards match the chosen cards, same value and same color!!

All that is needed is one deck of cards. The deck may be borrowed. If you wish it may be shuffled by the spectators.

After the deck is shuffled, request the first spectator to name a card. With the faces toward you, remove that card from the deck and place it face up on the table in front of you. At the same time and as part of the same process move the matching value/color card to the face of the deck. Do not show this card.

Request a second spectator to name a card. Remove that card and place it on the table next to the first chosen card. This time you move the matching value/color card to the top of the deck.

Assume that the first card was the Queen of Hearts and the second card was the Four of Clubs (both freely selected by the spectators) . Those two cards are now on the table. In your hand is the rest of the deck with the Queen of Diamonds on the bottom of the deck and the Four of Spaces on the top.

If you desire, a false shuffle could be performed here. Hold the deck face down in your left hand and begin to slowly deal off cards one-at-a-time. Ask the first spectator to tell you to stop where she/he would like the selection returned to the deck When she/he stops you, place her/his card face up in the deck and then place the rest of the top of the face-up card. Pick up the deck and repeat this process with the second chosen card. This will put the matching value/color card above that card.

Spread the deck to find the two selected cards face up. Indicate that while the two spectators believe that they both chose their cards and picked the return positions with out any outside influence, you actually did influence both spectators not only in their selections, but also in the positions at which they called stop. This is demonstrated to be the case as you show that both of the chosen cards are located in the spread adjacent to their matching value/color cards!

Ronald J.Dayton

EFFECT:  A penny, held flat between the first finger and thumb of the left hand near one edge is displayed so the date upon it may be read.  The coin is openly placed on the back of the right hand thumb which has been bent and pressed against the pad of the right hand first finger. The thumb is positioned to flick or spin any coin placed upon it high into the air.

The coin is placed head side down.  It is then openly flicked into the air by the right thumb.Your right palm is held flat and open,  thumb extend to one side,  the hand waiting to catch the coin as it falls.  This is done…the fingers of the hand closing over the coin.  When the hand opens again, a spectator picks up the penny and examines the date.  By some force of magic, the coin has been tossed into another dimension. The date of the coin is now different from what it was at the start!!

METHOD:  Members of I.C.O.M  may remember a means I described earlier in which a small coin placed on the palm of the hand  could be vanished by simply having a bit of wax on the thumb nail of that hand…or, even rubber cement applied to both the coin and the back of the thumb.(See I.C.O.M Archives “Old Dogs, New Tricks”)  This is the same idea,  expanded upon, and modified to create a totally different effect.

Most all of us have a penny shell from the childhood block and coin effect.  That’s where a penny, which is lying upon your table, is covered with a magical block and the coin mysteriously changes into a dime.  Unless you use this on a regular basis ( and there’s no reason you shouldn’t )…take the penny shell and file off about three-quarters of its rim.  This gives you a partial shell which may be placed on top of another heads up penny.  The method should be becoming clear.

Both the partial coin shell and the thumb have been treated in advance with rubber cement. When the coin assembly is placed on the right thumb, it goes head side down.  When you go through the flicking action, the partial shell remains, concealed behind the extended thumb…and the  new coin sails up into the air. 

It’s magic! No, really…this is a very strong effect IF you pay attention to angles, and don’t get
forgetful with your thumb.The shell by the way may be stolen back into the hand by turning the hand over, bending the thumb in toward the palm, and  pulling the coin off with  your fingers\ while they are examining the caught coin. 

Home Work: Are there any other applications you can devise for this??

August 1998

Ronald J. Dayton
Larry White

EFFECT: A playing card is displayed. A large, vinyl paper clip….let’s say its color is yellow…is clipped to the top center end of the card. The assembly is held by the end of the clip between the thumb and first finger.

In a very slow and deliberate manner, the card is turned over to show the other side of the clip, as well as the back of the card. You state that you have another clip in your pocket…and that in just a moment…you will cause it to fly to the card, and the clip which is on the card will travel invisibly to your pocket.

Believe it or not, in the blink of an eye, that is exactly what appears to happen! In less time than it takes for me to tell of it…you are holding the very same card, but it now has a black paper clip attached to it. The card and clip are again shown slowly on both sides. When you reach into your pocket…lo and behold…you remove the yellow clip.

METHOD: This remarkable effect would never have come to be if not for an almost accidental collaboration between Larry White and myself. For quite some time, Larry and I had been corresponding, and kicking ideas around. A couple of years ago, I mentioned something I was working on which was not quite falling into place.

What I had done was to take a laundry marker pen and used it to color a light colored vinyl paper clip black. Then I reposition the clip, and did the same to the new side which was showing. I could then clip the piece on the card in yet another way, and still have a yellow side showing. But I didn’t have a move. Much of the work had to be done
under cover of the fingers.

Well, to make a long story even longer…Larry had the move, and no effect to go with it. It was fate! We combined the clip and the move, and the fantastic transposition was born.

But while I’ve been rambling on…you’ve been wondering just how in the world it is accomplished. Here is the real works:

Take a jumbo vinyl paper clip ( for best spectator visibility ) and slip it on to the end of a playing card. Do not push it on all the way. Allow about one quarter of an inch of the end of the clip to extend beyond the end of the card. Now, take your marking pen and carefully blacken all of the side of the clip which is visible…get as close to the card as possible. Darken the end of the clip as well…then turn the card over and do the opposite side in the same way. Allow to dry thoroughly …then repeat several more times. The preparation of the clip is then done (see fig.#1). If you can find or suggest any clear coating material for the clip…I would like to hear about it. As it stands, after a few performances…the clip must be re-darkened.

To get the yellow surface of the clip to show without removing it from the card…we must use Larry’s move. Hold the extended end of the clip between the thumb and first finger of the right hand. Hold firmly. Then grasp the opposite end of the card with your free hand, and turn the card over. It will only go in one direction…but turn it will. And when it has turned…the yellow side of the clip will have been revealed!!

So there you have the incredible secret! So simple, yet so powerful! When you begin the routine, the yellow side is showing, and the extra matching yellow clip is in your right pants pocket. The clip is pulled away from the card that quarter of an inch we mentioned before…and the thumb and first finger of the right hand conceal the small black portion of clip that otherwise shows. You go through your build up, and then, with a simultaneous action, the left hand revolves the card and the right hand pushes the clip all the way on to the card, and then releases its grip and drops to your side. The card now, when turned slowly to show both sides, will reveal a solid black paper clip. You the smile, and glance at your right pocket. The empty right hand goes to same, and brings out the yellow clip. It looks like a miracle!!

As you can see, the re-set takes only an instant. This is great for those who do restaurant work. Drop the yellow clip in the pocket, revolve the card…pull the clip back just a hair, and you’re good to go

I’ve given many effects to the magic community…but this, this is a real gem. I sincerely hope some of you will take the time to make one of these for yourself. You won’t regret that you did.

The construction of the clips (gimmicked clips shown on one side only)

Special thanks to Jeff Brown of the great State of Alaska for this fine “Comedy Card Effect”. For the magician looking for something a little offbeat and different, you can hardly do better than this for sheer entertainment value…BJG

Hello from Alaska! Here’s the effect that I sent to Ron. Hope you like it. It was developed for my friend’s Mosquito Circus, kind of like a Flea Circus.

Ralph, The Card Finding Mosquito
Jeff Brown

EFFECT: A card is selected and signed by an audience member. A small decorative box is displayed containing Ralph. Ralph, a very rare and expensive mosquito, trained for over ten years in the art of card magic, will find the selected card. As the deck is riffled in the air, Ralph indeed locates it. However, as the deck is spread, it is discovered that Ralph has been crushed on the back of the signed card!

WORKING: Using a Sharpie marking pen and your best illustrative skills, draw a black spot with wings on the back of a card. After it dries, place it on the bottom of the deck. Hindu shuffle the cards and invite the spectator to say stop at any time. Display the card and have it signed. Just don’t let Ralph see it. Using the Kelly Bottom Placement, control the card to the bottom of the deck. Holding both the top and bottom cards, overhand shuffle the deck, leaving the signed card second from the top. Double lift to show, “This is how a normal magician would find the card, but that’s too easy for Ralph.” Cut the deck, leaving the signed card approximately in the middle.

Build up the drama and have the spectator “release” Ralph. Follow Ralph’s “flight” with the deck, and at the appropriate time, riffle down and quickly SLAP the top of the deck and smile. The smile then melts into a look of shock as you realize you’ve crushed Ralph.

Spread the deck to show the “remains” of Ralph on the back of a card. Flip it over to show that indeed Ralph has located the card!

“It’s how he would have wanted to go.”

Well, that’s it! It’s gotten a few laughs, a then when it’s really their signed card, it turns to
amazement. Thanks for checking it out!

Change the world a chuckle at a time!
Jeff Brown

Co-Directors Notes: This my friends is a hot effect. Think of the possibilities and you will realize that Ron has just handed us yet another ground-breaking concept with potential only limited by your imagination…BJG

September 1998

The Force Of A Spell
Ronald J. Dayton

What would you think if I told you it is possible to FORCE a predetermined color of a silk which lies in a row upon your table with four other different color silks by simply having a free selection of one of the colors.. spelling its color out letter by letter until you come to a second random color silk, then repeating until a third random color is arrived at? Would you be impressed??

What if I were to tell you that this simple principle could be used to force names of drinks, foods, countries or gems.. would that impress you? Well, impressed or not, this is all based on a spelling force I have been experimenting with.. .and am about to share with you at this time.

As an example, here are the basics for an effect you might well call Color Choice 20th Century Silks. Five silks are lying in a row upon your table. Their order from left to right are RED, BLUE, GREEN, YELLOW and ORANGE. No matter which silk is pointed to from the performer’s side of the table.. .if you spell its name letter-by-letter beginning with the silk immediately to its left, and spell in a clock-wise direction until you come to a new color or position, then repeat the action by spelling the color of the second silk arrived at again in a clock-wise direction.. .the color you will ultimately land on is GREEN. This seemingly randomly selected silk is then picked up and vanished only to reappear tied between two previously shown Silks via the 20th Century Silks effect.

As a variation on a theme, let’s playfully call the next effect Mixed Vegetables. In this version, five packets of seeds are lying in a row on your mat. From left to right they are LETTUCE, CORN, BEETS, CELERY and PEPPERS. Using the same double spelling sequence, the force word you will land on in this instance is BEETS. Reaching into a paper grocery bag which has been on your table from the start, you remove a can of beets. The bag is then shown to be empty, proving your premonition was correct.

A third variation will be called Mixed Drinks. It has nothing to do with alcoholic beverages however. Cards with the names of several drinks are lying on a row upon your table. Again, the paper bag is visible to one side. The drinks named from left to right are; JUICES, TEA, MILK, COCOA and COFFEE. The drink which is forced via the double spelling system is COCOA. The bag contains a tin of the same.

Cards with images of flags and the names of countries may also be used to force ne particular country. As an example, the names from left to right might be; TURKEY, USA, PERU, ITALY and RUSSIA. Once again, the five letter name, or ITALY is the name which is forced upon the spectator. A replica of the nations flag may then be produced from a production tube or box.

You can also force particular gems such as those which are set into rings. Five finger rings are lying in a row upon your table. Left to right their order is DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. The ring which is forced is the PEARL.

I have simply given a method and then followed by making several suggestions for possible presentational avenues to take. You will spell the colors or names in the prescribed manner from your side of the table while initially working with this effect. You will then have to discover for yourself the direction and procedure used if the spectator does the spelling from THEIR side of the table. It is your option to choose which side of the table the spelling is done from. I will not confuse the action further by trying to explain the differences.. .they become evident as you work with it.

As a final example, let’s take one last look at the gem stone force. You’ll recall the order of the rings was DIAMOND, ONYX, PEARL, RUBIES and SAPPHIRE. We will assume the first chosen gem was ONYX. Spelling letter-by-letter in a clock-wise direction from the performer’s side of the table. Touching the diamond you say 0, on sapphire you say N, touching rubies you spell Y, and as you touch pearl you spell X completing the word ONYX. Now the word PEARL is spelled in the same clockwise manner beginning on the word onyx.. the five letter spelling brings you right back to the word PEARL. The force word is PEARL.

These examples simply indicate the variety you can devise for yourself by finding other words and objects which may be listed and spelled to to create a force situation. The order of these cards or objects can be changed around. New positioning will often upset the system, and result in truly random names being arrived at for different spellings. This is a great way to show the spectator what you want done, and how to do it, without revealing your system. Then, when you are ready to do the force, the names or objects are put in to correct left to right order so the desired word, name or object is chosen.

A Sequence for September 1998
Mike Fordice

Well, that’s not much of a name; I can’t seem to think of anything cleverer. But, in fact, that’s what it really is; a sequence of effects. I’ve been using this for a long time with various modifications. What I’m presenting is the current version. Since a minor set-up is required, I use this as an opening effect.

Set Up:
On top of deck a 6 card set up: red ace face down, red ace face up, black ace face down, black ace face up, 4 of spades, 3 of spades. Flip the deck over and look for a black deuce making sure it’s the 2 of spades. To be safe, move the 2 of clubs towards the top of the deck. You want to be sure that when you look at the cards face up, the first black deuce you see is the 2 of spades. Case the deck.

Phase I: Snap Ace Production
Begin by describing to your audience that magicians love to do tricks with the 4 aces. Explain that you want to be more efficient and will use 2 deuces. After all 2 + 2 equals the same thing as 1 + 1 + 1 + 1. 2 deuces, 4 aces what’s the difference? As you describe this, you can do a false shuffle. Also you can dribble the cards from hand to hand. With minor care, the 2 face-up cards will not been seen.

Turn deck face up and remove the 2 of spades and a red deuce (either one); place then face up on the table. Turn the deck face down.

Get a break under the face-to-face red aces (easy because of the reversed card). Pick up the red deuce and place is on top of the deck so you are now holding a break below 3 cards (face up red deuce, face down red ace, face up red ace). Grab the right side of the 3 cards with your right hand–thumb above and 1st and 2nd fingers below. Press down with your thumb so the red deuce curves inwards a little. Move the left edge of the 3 cards right and left a couple of times. Then bring the left edge of the 3 cards all the way to the right; touching your left finger. Then angle the 3 cards perpendicular to the deck at the right edge of the deck, and fairly forcibly let the 2 cards on the left (the red deuce and the red ace that was face down) fall (actually pushed) onto the deck as you snap off the other red ace. You should hear a “snap.” This leaves 2 red aces showing one on top of the deck and the other in your right hand. Drop both of them onto the table. You’ve “divided” the deuce into 2 one’s.

Slip cut the red deuce to the center of the deck leaving the face-to-face black aces on the top. Explain that if you could do this with the red Aces, it’s worth a try with the black cards. Repeat the above procedure with the black deuce. You now have the 4 aces on the table! Place the deck aside.

(Take a peak at the deck; you have the 2, 4, 3 of spades on top. These will be used later in this sequence–this was a neat way of being way ahead for later.)

Phase II: 4-Ace Routines
You can do what ever you like with 4 aces during this portion of the sequence. I would, however, suggest NOT doing Vernon’s ‘Twisting the Aces’ because of the final phase of this sequence. Here’s what I do.

Phase IIa
I begin this phase with ‘Overture’ from Phil Goldstein’s book Focus (Hermetic Press; Seattle, Washington; 1990). This is a great example of the old adage: if you want to hide something, put it in a book; and if you really want to hide it, put it as the first trick in the book. You’ll find ‘Overture’ on page 3 of Focus!

Since it is published, this is a brief description. Place the red aces face-up between the 2 face-down black aces. Explain that you have sandwiched the face-up red aces between the face-down black aces. (I think that you really have to stress this situation.)

Perform a Jordan Count to show that nothing has changed. (Not true: order now is face-down black, face-up red, face-down black, face-up red).

Explain that the real magic is about to occur as you do a Vernon Through-the-Fist Flourish. (see Goldstein’s book for details).

Now perform an Elmsley Count to display the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the face down red aces. Spread and display. A total transposition has occurred!

Phase IIb
Next I proceed to something directly from I.C.O.M., with a presentation idea. Take a look at the October – December 1997 Advances Lab Archives for ‘Solid Gold Transposition.’ This reminded me of ‘The Last Trick of Dr. Jacob Daley’ (see Lewis Ganson’s ‘The Dai Vernon Book of Magic’ reprinted by L&L Publishing, 1994, page 210 – 214 for a detailed description). For the student, also look at Tarbell, Vol. 5, p 129 – 131 for a similar effect by Milbourne Christopher. And…the idea was expanded by Larry Jennings in ‘The Cardwright’ (L&L Publishing, 1988). (Who said I have too many magic books???)

At the end of Phase IIa you hold the 2 black aces face-up sandwiched between the 2 face-down red aces. Flip the red aces over so that all 4 aces are face up and move the bottom red ace between the 2 black aces to alternate colors.

While the actual suits do not matter, I¹m going to describe what follows with a particular sequence, so set your 4 aces as follows. From the face (all 4 aces face-up) diamond, club, heart, spade.

Flip the packet face down and shuffle them. What you really do is run 5 cards (one at a time) as if you were doing an overhand shuffle. The aces are now heart, club, diamond, spade (from the top to bottom). Take 2 cards in each hand and briefly display them. Reassemble the 4-card packet and get a break below the second card while doing this.

Do a double turnover displaying the Ace of Clubs. Turn the double and remove the top card placing it into the spectator¹s hand. They will believe that this is the Ace of Clubs (actually, it¹s the Ace of Hearts).

Now do the Solid Gold Transposition count. The cards are now diamond, spade, club from the top. Do a double turnover (push off or buckle) to show the Ace of Spades. Flip the double face down and remove the top card which the spectator will assume is the Ace of Spades (really the Ace of Diamonds).

Here¹s the fun part: Place the ‘Ace of Spades’ above the card in their hand (covering about 60% of their card, but do not let go) and ask them if you should place the Spade on top. Then move it below the card in their hand and ask if you should put it on the bottom. Move the card from top to bottom several times. Finally place it below the first card they hold.

At this point snap your fingers and ask if they felt anything. Ask where the Ace of Spades is-top or bottom. They will respond bottom. You say: No, it¹s here on top, as you flip over the top card in your hand. Flip over the club with the spade. And…you have the red aces! As they look at their red aces (should have been black) this is often good for a

Phase III
I conclude this sequence with an effect called ‘Maxi-Twist 1-2-3-4’ by Roger Smith. I found this in a manuscript from the mid-70¹s.

Begin by placing the 4 aces in club, heart, spade, diamond order from the face (face up). Pick up the deck and get a break under the top 3 cards (the 2, 4, 3 of spade that were set earlier). Lay the face-up aces maintaining a break below 7 cards. As you lift the packet a little off the deck with the right thumb, grip the next card. You now hold a break with 8 cards; a small break between the packet of 7 and the 8th card. You now perform Marlo’s Atfus Move. Thumb the Ace of Clubs onto the deck and regrip it below the packet in your right hand. Next, thumb off the Ace of Hearts and regrip it under the break. As you square the packet against your left thumb, drop everything below the break onto the top of the deck. This is covered by the face-up (8th) card you took earlier. Now thumb off the Ace of Spades and take it below the packet. Place the deck aside being careful not to expose the 2 face-up aces. Square the packet.

As a checkpoint, the packet consists of 5 cards: Ace of Diamonds (face up), 2 of Spades (face down), 4 of Spades (face down), 3 of Spades (face down), and Ace of Spades (face up).

You now will go through a series that turns the aces face down, one by one. You need a little ‘magic’ before you perform each step. I hold the packet in a Biddle Grip and tap it on the table. You could do a twist, or you could hold them by the long edges and give them a little buckle/snap. I like the light tap!

After the first tap, do an Elmsley count to show that the first ace has turned face down.

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb each card into the left hand placing each on top of the previous. The last card is a double. This shows 2 face-up aces and 2 face-down cards. Close the spread. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 3S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up).

Tap again, and hold the cards in Biddle Grip. Thumb the top card into the left hand. Next, draw off the bottom card onto the card in the left hand and then thumb over the top card of the right-hand packet. This gives you a fan of 3 cards in your left hand (AD in the center between 2 face-down cards) and a double in your right hand. Place the double in-jogged on the right face-down card of the 3-card fan holding it in place with your left thumb. Regrip the right card and the in-jogged double with your right fingers and take the 2 left cards in your left fingers. Place the AD (face up) on top of the out-jogged card in your right hand, but below the double and then place the final face-down card in your left hand on top of the whole thing. Square up all the face-down cards leaving the AD out-jogged. Let a spectator push the AD into the packet. Order of cards: 4S (face down), 2S (face down), AS (face up), AD (face up), 3S (face down).

One more tap and do an Elmsley count to show all 4 aces have turned face down.

Tell your audience that very often “people want to know how you do this” and that you’ll show them. Tell them it’s done with 4 cards. Here you hold the cards in right-hand Biddle Grip and thumb them one by one into your left hand. This leaves you with a face-up Ace of Spades in your right hand (actually a double). Carefully place this on the table and then DRAMATICALLY, begin to turn over the cards in your hand as you count 1, 2, 3, 4 revealing the 2, 3, and 4 of Spades! Saying that’s 1, that’s 2, that’s 3, and that¹s 4.

Clean up by dropping all the face up cards on the pack. This gives you an excuse to ‘play’ with the deck for a bit as you turn all cards face down. Shuffle and you¹re ready for your next card effects.


Co-Directors Notes: Thanks a million Mike! That lesson obviously took a lot of time and effort to write. I’m sure all of our card-loving I.C.O.M technicians will have a great time leaning the various sequences involved. I dare say that by the time they have this routine down pat, it will be time for October’s lessons <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 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.

Secret Passageway 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Secret Passageway 7/98-9/98

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!

July 1998

The International Conservatory Of Magic Proudly Presents

artwork copyright 1998 Ronald J. Dayton

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

Who knows what mysteries lurk in the shadows!? Darkness surrounds us before our first breath, and after our last. It is the time between, we hope to illuminate.

Shadows, like thoughts, are intangible, ghostly reflections. YOU are the source which gives it substance. We control the shadows of our lives, by moving forward and seeking light as opposed to standing idle, unable to see the darkness we’ve come to accept.

Ronald J. Dayton 12-15-92

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
Francis Bacon

Volume #1 Page Three

This issue is continued from last month

” THE 27th VICTIM “
Ronald J. Dayton

The performer is chatting with the spectators during a relaxed moment in the show and he comments that people often ask where he gets his ideas for a new trick or illusion. He answers that the inspirations come from a whole host of areas, surprisingly, most often from things not even remotely related to magic. Take for instance, the other evening…I was reading a detective novel called “The 27th Victim.” It was about a serial killer who would choose his victims at random, then, do away with them in a diabolical way. I thought this might make a good theme or story line for a magic trick, and if I may…I would like to show you what I devised.

With these words, the performer removes a cased deck of cards from his jacket pocket. Removing the cards from the case, and setting the empty case to one side, the cards are fanned with their faces toward the audience. A spectator is asked to step forward and remove one of the cards from the fan with out naming it. As the performer looks away, the card is shown to the others in the audience.

The cards are squared up and held in the left hand. You state that you will now riffle the deck at one end until the spectator says stop. This you do, then break the deck at that point and up-jog the rear portion about half an inch. The deck is held in this manner in the left hand.

You state that, just as the killer in the novel had done, the spectator has randomly made a selection. You now extend your right hand and ask that the card he chose be handed to you. It is held with its back facing you so you cannot know its identity. You now ask the spectator to extend his first and second fingers of one hand, and curl in the third and fourth fingers toward the palm, making the hand look like a gun. This done, he is asked to shoot the playing card in your right hand.

Some people will actually make a loud ‘bang’ sound as they pretend to shoot the gun. Others will make no noise, but simply make the hand jump a bit as if from the recoil of the shot. When this happens you say, ” Oh, I see you’ve used a silencer.” The audience will get a laugh from this, and you can move on.

The card is now dead. Do you know how I know this? Because now it is a CARD-daver. So well have to bury it.” Suiting your words to action, you slip the chosen card into the deck at the point of the up-jog break. The deck is now squared.

If the plot of this card trick is in reality following the plot of the detective novel…your card victim should be at the 27th position in the deck. Let’s see if it is!”

The cards are taken one at a time from the back of the deck and laid face up on the table to your right. You count each card as it is tabled, 1,2,3 etc. When you come to number 26, you pause a moment, stating that the 27th victim. The next card ( actually on the cards to your right) is indeed the 27th victim. And that my friends is a KILLER effect!”

METHOD: Two questions have probably entered your mind. How is the identity of the spectator’s card learned, and how is it controlled to the 27th position in the deck. Both questions are answered by knowing that the jokers remain in the deck giving a total of 54 cards…and each of these jokers has been tampered with.

First of all, you must glue a one inch diameter piece of reflective mylar to the back of the first joker. This then becomes a ‘shiner’ card in which you can see the spectators selection while it is being held up to be shot. (see fig.#1) This ‘shiner’ joker is the top or back card of the deck. To gimmick or prepare the second joker all you need do is to pencil dot the top left and bottom right diagonal margins at the back of the card. This marked card is then placed at the 26th position from the top of the deck.

As you remove the cards form their case, take care not to reveal the presence of the mylar shiner at the back. Cards are then fanned face toward the audience and a selection is made. State that this is a full deck, and the jokers have not been removed…so some card other than a joker should be selected. Insure also that you can see the pencil dot marked card as the fan is formed.

If the chosen card is taken from the front half of the deck, simply get and hold a little finger break in front of the pencil marked card. If the selection is taken from within the top 26 cards, the break is made in front of the next card after the pencil marked joker. Now, as you ask them to say stop as you end riffle the deck, no matter where they say stop, you make the break and up-jog at the break you were holding. The rear portion of the deck will always have twenty-six cards.

As you hold the chosen card in your right hand for the spectator to shoot with his ‘hand’ gun ( pun intended ) you will see its reflection in the mylar. His card is then inserted at the up-jog break, placing it in the 27th position. Square up the deck and begin the count off tabling as explained.

The point is, just as you count off twenty-six cards from the back of the deck,  you say, ” And this next card, the twenty-seventh card…is ( name the card ),  then turn it face up for the reveal as you conclude, your chosen card!”

After the effect is completed, remove the jokers and place them openly face up in the card case. this leaves you with a clean deck for further effects.


Co-Directors Note: This effect is an act in itself. Talk about pack, small play big! With the popularity of “Murder Mystery Games” at parties and get togethers, this can be a major hit! Also, the mylar circles can be found in any craft store…BJG

August 1998

” The Unexpected Visitor “
Ronald J. Dayton

This is an effect which is a direct spin-off  of one devised over ten years ago in England. I believe it was Martin Breeze who first marketed it and several others in booklet form at that time.  I loved the potential it showed, and after a while, came up with several strong variations of my own.  Perhaps you will fine even more.

You begin the preparation of a playing card by first creasing it face to face, end to end,  and then side to side as in Fig. ‘a’.  The next step is to fold the point ‘x’ to the right toward point ‘y’. Point ‘x’ will overlap and extend beyond point ‘y’ as in Fig. ‘b’.  Now crease the diagonal which is formed and runs from the exact center of the card to a point about 1/2 inch from each corner… ( see dotted lines in figures ‘c’ and ‘d’ ).  The folds will cause the card to appear as in Fig. ‘e’ when the card is partially opened.  With a scissors, cut the crease marked ‘A’, Fig. ‘g’ to a point approximately 1/4 inch from the top crease.  This card rests on your table, roof-top style, as in Fig. ‘h’. The slit side is nearest you.

A second card is prepared as in figures ‘a’ through ‘f’.  This card can now be folded as in steps ‘h’; through ‘j’ without cutting the card.  This folded card is finger palmed in the left hand, with what appears to be the inner card pointing to the left.  If you would rather not palm it, it may simply be concealed in some easily accessible place.

To apparently produce a playing card from nowhere, instantly at your fingertips…you simply reach down to the card resting roof-top style on your close up mat…the fingers and thumb grasping the card at corners ‘z-z’.  When you squeeze the card together it will fold up as in figures ‘i’ and ‘j’.  It instantly creates the illusion of a second card having appeared as in Fig. ‘j’. Taking the card(s) between both hands, the fingers and thumbs of the hands open the card(s) as in Fig. ‘k’…giving the appearance as in Fig. ‘l’.

What appears to be two playing cards are now displayed, holding them in the right hand. The cards are transferred to the left momentarily as the right gestures magically them.  If you did not finger palm the second card mentioned earlier in the left hand, prior to this move you must have gotten hold of it, and retained it in the left.  So, in reality, you have secretly added a second card to the false card configuration you have been showing. This folded second card is on the left side of the first card, figures ‘m’ and ‘n’. The right half of the first card is now forced over on top of the left half, and on top of the second card as well.  As you  now open out the first card once again to the right,  you also secretly open out the second card as well.  The two cards are then uncoupled and opened out individually, taking care not to reveal the secret slit in
the first card.

This has taken so long to explain…and, no doubt,  many will have to work with the actual prepared cards in hand to get the full idea…but in actual working, it is much, much more simplistic. One card is seen resting roof-top style on your table.  As it is picked up and squeezed in half, a second card seems to magically appear.  You open the cards out as in Fig. ‘l’. Transfer them momentarily to the left hand where a second folded card is palmed and added to the first. One more fold and an opening of the card set…and you show two independent cards casually as the finale’ to a cute card quickie

(end)  ———————————-

September 1998

artwork copyright 1998 Ronald J. Dayton

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

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

Ronald J. Dayton 23-93

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


The Ghostie

Flying Ghosties
Ronald J. Dayton

Here is yet another offering, used with permission, from the pages of a Jim Klein publication…
” Mortimer’s Magic Magazine.” The list of contributors to Mortimer’s was quite extensive. Many names in magic with whom you are no doubt familiar. Spirits Past was inspired by the name of an effect which had been contributed by Steve Dusheck. Since the name ‘Dusheck’ translates to Little Spirit in the families ethnic background.. .it seemed fitting that I title this idea to reflect the same. The name of Steves original effect was ” Ghosties,” page 54 of Mortimer’s * 10.

I thought the idea of ‘little spirits’ or unseen forces helping a magician to achieve his effects made sense. Then, by modifying a concept created by British performer Ah Bongo, his Helicopter Bunnies.. .I created paper ghosts which could actually fly. Logic told me that flying ghosts seemed more credible than flying bunnies. The Bongo idea in turn seems to have had its roots in a simple paper copter found within the pages of the ” Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic ” by Martin Gardner.

The illustration properly shows the shape of my paper flying ghostie. When turned upside down and held at X. . when released, the arms will spread in opposite directions, and the falling figure will spin like the blades of a helicopter. It’s a novel little item, and one that can be inexpensively produced as a give-a-way at your shows. Younger children get a real kick out of them. With your name and number printed on the back… it becomes something parents tend to keep.

Your little spirit friends may be used in place of a magic wand, being waved over an object to cause the magic to happen. They may be used for a torn and restored paper effect. You could use them in a billet switch, and have a spirit message appear on one side of the folded ghost figure. One rolled in a tube and covered with flash paper could easily create a cigarette to ghost effect. I think with a little thought and imagination, you could find a lot of uses. They are cute, novel, and versatile. For a cost of pennies apiece.. what more could you ask for?

Print them in different color stock paper for color change effects… .or simply to create ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ spirits in pink and blue. Make them from Can’t Tear paper for an indestructible comedy twist to a do-as-I-do type paper tear routine.Make them in to Clippo ghosts. The suggestions could go on and on.

People often ask me…” Ron, how in the world did you ever think of that!?” I guess the answer in many instances is, because I simply took the time to think rather than let someone else do it for me. If you put your mind to something.. .you’d be amazed at the results. I hope this little pep talk will have encouraged you to put your thinking caps on, and see what you can make the spirits do for you.

Co-Directors Notes: I really hope the majority of I.C.O.M members do not pass this one by. It ended up here in the secret passageway due to its ‘ghostly’ nature, however, it would have been perfectly suited to the Kid Show Konservatory because of its outstanding value as a novel and fun interlude.


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

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

Kid Show Konservatory 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

Kid Show Konservatory 7/98-9/98

Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!


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.

July 1998

“Thayer For 2000”

This is the first of a multi-part series focusing on two ancient magical texts from the old Thayer Studio. This Lesson (the first) is a re-vamped version of the Thayer “Complete Soda Fountain Act”. The entire working of the method and routine has been re-worked and re-written by yours truly. No matter how timeless the original concept, most of the old manuscript was hoplessley “dated” and needed much revision. The following is the result, with a multitude of new ideas and insights not found in the sparse original version.

Like much of the old Thayer Manuscripts, They are acts relegated to the golden age of magic. Relics of a bygone era. But that does not mean we cannot learn from the past to create new magic for the present, right?

The following is a routine that “could” be great for children in the right setting. This would be one of the most novel acts ANY performer could possibly introduce in the realm of children’s magic. No one is doing it and I know it could be a reputation maker in the right hands.

The only “caveat” however would be that the performer must make the call for him/herself whether or not they would EVER wish to give food products out to audience members. Depending on your locality, you may even need a food licence of sorts. A course in proper food handling may not be out of the question either. After all, this “is” your career right?

I must admit however, that over the years, I have seen literally dozens of performers hand out lollipops and candy to children at shows, so in essence, this is really no different in my opinion. Nevertheless, we have to state that this knowledge is here for “educational purposes only” and is up to each individual performer whether or not to perform a version of the following act….BJG

“The Soda Fountain Act”
Bobby J. Gallo

Effect: The performer displays a small soda bar of sorts with a number of empty soda glasses. He then shows an empty bottle and proves that it is indeed devoid of any liquid by shining a flashlight through it and letting the audience get a glimpse of the interior of the bottle.

After the music starts the performer says the magic word and lo and behold, pours genuine soda-pop from the bottle! This is the real stuff that you can actually drink! He then continues to pour a large number of soda drinks from the empty bottle and to the audiences delight, they are all different colors (flavors)! For a grand finale, the performer reaches into his pocket and produces a tall glass of milk. An entire act in itself that kids and adults alike will remember for a long time!

Method: Upon studying the old Thayer manuscript, they that the three main aspects to the ultimate success of the “Soda Fountain Act” are the ability of the “personable” performer to…

  • Magically pour…
  • Good looking…
  • Good tasting…drinks

Sounds easy right? <G>

Well, maybe, maybe not. It is important to have all three elements. What good is a great looking drink if, when tasted, may as well be used to water the plants. The flip-side is also the case. If the drink looks horrible, no one will want it. Would you?

The first thing you will need is a “soda bar” of sorts. This can be constructed using a standard card table trimmed in a 1950’s motif’ or any other way you like. The more imaginative, the better! There is no gimmicks in this part of the materials so get creative in its creation. Things you may want to keep in mind of course would be portability and size for travelling purposes. Also, consider a costume. Maybe the type that a 1950’s soda fountain worker would wear. That would be great….!

Next you will need a number of soda glasses. I would strongly recommend staying away from genuine glass and instead opt for the many varieties of “plastic” glasses and tumblers on the market. This is for two reasons.

  • Remember, you are working for kids. And kids drop things!
  • No matter how carefully you pack, glass tends to break during travel.

Try to obtain glasses that are smaller than normal. You will want to make a small amount of liquid go a long way. And never forget a few towels! Nuff said on that point!

Now comes the magical part. You will need a container that will magically produce drinks. Of course you can use a commercially available Foo Can, but they are rather expensive and do not hold a lot of liquid. Besides, the one “I” had was rather dirty inside due to the fact that it was made of spun copper and never seemed to come very clean. Not something you would want to pour “drinks” out of.

The old Thayer Manuscript had a wonderful solution that could be made inexpensively and was quite simple. Find a quart sized colored bottle. Fill it with Seven-Up or other Lemon-Lime Soda. This should be kept refrigerated until showtime. If travelling, a cooler of some type may be used to transport the liquid keeping it fresh and cold. Certain Thermos bottles could be helpful as well.

Now, it is corked with a piece of cork (yes, you can still get corks!) which fits into the neck of the bottle snug. But which is only about half an inch in length. Incidentally, the cork must not be placed intpositionbottle neck until immediately prior to your performance.

Just before your act begins fill the colored glass bottle to the top with the soda-pop. Then cork the bottle so that the top part of the cork is level with the rim of the neck of the bottle.

In the glasses you are using, place a few drops of “food coloring” in each of the glasses using whatever color the drink in that glass is supposed to be. For example, if the glass is to be filled with “orange” soda, use a mixture of red & yellow coloring. With a little experimenting, (mixing colors etc.) you will be able to duplicate the color of almost any soda-pop on the market! Food coloring is obtainable at almost any food market.

REMEMBER: You are only after the color alone to look good. The taste does not matter. Believe it or not, few will ever know the difference in taste between your disguised lemon-lime soda and other flavors! You may not believe this now, but it is true. You may even want to try a blindfold experiment yourself. Have someone give you several soda flavors and see if you can guess which one each is. You will be surprised with the results.

Now have a system where you know which glasses contain which colors, so that during the routine, if someone calls out orange soda, you don’t pour cola!

Last on your list of props is flashlight. This will become more apparent as you read the workings of the routine.

All set? have your music? oh…no music? ok, just read on!

Pick up the bottle in the left hand. Hold it upside down, the cork will not come out if you have picked one that fits very snug in the neck of the bottle. Pick up the flashlight and proceed to shine the light through the bottle. The liquid, being perfectly translucent, will not show. Turn out the light.

Place the bottle on the bar right side up and, as you do, your right thumb (or forefinger) shoves the thin piece of cork right down into the neck of the bottle. It’s presence there, floating atop the liquid, will not be seen for it is at this place on the bottle that the hand holds the “neck” as the pouring is done. However, at intervals, you may have to tip the bottle a bit to again dislodge the cork if it become stuck in the neck again to permit the release of the liquid.

Pretty clever huh? As far as I am concerned, this is far more effective than the use of a “prop” to produce the liquid.

The key here is to rehearse with an empty bottle so that you will have no trouble creating the “illusion” of an empty bottle (before the cork is dis-lodged) when you handle it. Observe how you handle the empty bottle then duplicate your actions with the filled one.

At this point you may proceed to present the effect in one of two ways. The first method is the classic “any drink called for” or in this case, “any soda flavor called for”. So obviously it is important to know what glass has what color in it when called. You also, only want to have one of each as far as the varieties go. Too much is overkill and anti-climactic.

What is nice about this method is that in addition to the magical appearance of the liquid you have the additional effect of magically making the “selected” flavor appear. Also, dark brown can be cola as well as root beer, etc.

The other way of presenting this would be to just do a magical presentation to music, talking about the various soda flavors while proceeding to pour out those being explained at the time. This has the advantage of not having to worry about soda flavors being called that you are not prepared for. Either way, the routine would be effective. Just be sure to pour the drinks out fast and keep your pacing brisk. It would be a good idea to allow an assistant to then pass out the drinks each time you get four or five ready. Always be sure to include a drinking straw in each glass. That’s showmanship and the kids love straws!

You will be amazed at how many drinks can come from one bottle as long as the glasses you use are not too large. And if you wish you may even want to try an old dodge if you have “wise” ones in the audience. An old secret of “any drink called for” performers of the past is to have several glasses of REAL soda behind your makeshift soda bar. Add these in sometime during the routine and pass them out. This proves (?) that you are producing legitimate soda-pop flavors!

A nice climax to the act would be to get a tight-fitting rubber cover for a glass which could either be purchased from a magic dealer or made using a piece of “dental-dam” material and a rubber band. This you have over the mouth of a glass of milk or ice water in your pocket. As a smash finish, pretend to hear someone call out the contents of the glass in your pocket instead of a soda-pop flavor. Reach into you pocket a produce it for laugh and big round of applause!!!

A Word Of Warning

When working the soda fountain act for children. Never let yourself nor her (or him if the assistant happens to be a “him” venture into the audience with the poured drinks) That you’ll be mobbed is a rank understatement of fact.

Here Are Some Patter Ideas

Ask: “Who has a birthday today? Please raise your hand.” If several have birthdays get them to come up and sit down. Next: Who has a birthday this week? Usually you’ll get enough hands on this one to fill a few chairs. If not: “Who has a Mommy orDaddy who has a birthday this week?” Keep this up until your chairs are filled. Then announce that you are to give them a “Magical Birthday Treat” and continue with the soda fountain act.

Finally, a word to those who may do the soda fountain act. Sometimes your host, or hostess, may want you to magically produce drinks for all the guests. In that case simply have that person provide an opaque punch bowl and have it on a table on the stage filled with punch, or otherwise depending on the audience. After you have poured all but a few drops from your bottle, pretend to empty the last of it intthumbbowl. Yes, really pretend to do so. Bring the neck of the bottle well down into the bowl so that the audience can’t see that there is really nothing emerging from the bottle. When finished, pick up the punch ladle, place it in the bowl, stand aside and say “And there’s the rest of it. Mrs. So and So, (or whatever your employer’s name may be) wishes everyone to have a magical refreshment!

End Notes: Well there it is, a complete act. I hope this has stimulated your imagination as to how concepts like this or others that are now lurking within your magical brain can be applied to your own show.

I’ll leave you with some homework.

What other ways can this act be presented? Can this act even be done without handing out drinks at all? Hmmm, there’s an idea that takes virtually all risks out of performing the routine! What are your ideas? We’d love to know!

Best Of Success!…BJG

August 1998

Those who know children’s magic, know that the color changing lace is a sure-fire classic. There have been a few on the market over the years, but what we offer you now is the best of them all!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

This effect was part of my “One Man Parade” in the March 1990 Linking Ring. It is an off-beat method for achieving a standard effect. In essence, a yellow shoelace is shown in its entirety as it is pulled back and forth through your fist. Audience members may even touch the lace as a form of limited examination if you wish. Then, as the lace is pulled through the hand one last time, it changes color completely, becoming bright red! The lace is held at fingertips, and both hands are otherwise empty. No thumb tips, pulls or complicated mechanical laces are employed.

The Perfection Color Changing Lace is so easy and visual that it actually excites me to share it with you. It is a color change which will catch those who ‘think’ they know, completely off guard. I stumbled upon the method purely by accident while tinkering with a couple of laces. I had rigged up a set of laces as in Fig. 1. for my ( then ) young daughter Jennifer. In that instance, all four laces were the same color. My thinking was, the lace as in Fig. 1 could be threaded up through her shoe.. .and if she ever broke the lace, she would have a matching spare with her at all times. She never took to the idea, thought her class-mates would make fun of her.. but I still think it’s not bad.

Well, now that I’ve given you way more background than you wanted to know, we can proceed with the preparation of the laces. You will need two laces, one yellow and one red. These are the hollow type sports laces. The yellow lace is 24 inches in length, and the red lace is a 27 inch lace.

Poke one tip of the yellow lace through the material of the red lace near one end. Now thread and push the yellow tip up through the red lace until you come to the opposite red end. Push the yellow tip through the material at this end. Bunch the red lace up in sort of a pleated bundle at the center of the yellow lace, Fig. 1. The yellow lace is length A-B, the red lace is C-D.

By concealing the bunched red bundle in your right fist, the yellow lace may be pulled back and forth through the hand, casually showing its entire length. On the last downward pull of the yellow lace the bunched red section is slipped to a position very near to end A, Fig. 2.

Lace tips C and D have been concealed within the right hand. Tip A of the yellow lace is just barely visible above the top of the right fist. As the left hand seems to grasp end A, it actually pulls end C up in to view as end A slips inside the red lace interior. Do not pull end C too far. Stop when the laces appear as in Fig. 3. Inner tip A is at point X in the illustration. The audience can now see that the yellow tip has changed to red.

With the left hand first finger and thumb, take a FIRM grip on end C, gripping inner tip A at the same time through the material and pull upward through the fist. Make it a smooth, unhurried pull. The yellow lace will seem to visibly change to red. It’s a startling revelation.

At the end of the pull, keep the right fist closed for a moment or two, then open it a finger at a time to show the empty right hand. It is at this point that the full impact of the total color change will register.

There are a lot of possibilities for this lace effect. You could use TWO laces within a third for magical blendo effects. If you use oversize laces such as for clown shoes, this could become a highly visible stage or platform effect. By using two laces within a third, you could actually have a spectator freely choose which of the two visible laces he would like to have change color. The one not chosen is simply pulled free of the fist and tabled, leaving you with the original color change set-up explained earlier.

What other Possibilities can you think of? I’m certain there are more to be found, but if you are content with what has already been suggested, you will find you have a remarkable color change at your disposal. I hope you will enjoy performing it as much as I do!

Arial Crayon Production
Bobby J. Gallo

A few months ago I discussed a concept that had been poking around my mind for the better part of the last few years. It was the idea of using the myriad of classic cigarette moves with crayons to create new and different magic for today’s audiences with a manipulative look and feel. This is the first actual application of this concept. I can think of no other effect for family audiences that can pack so small and play so large.

EFFECT: The performer exhibits an empty hat to the audience. He/she then proceeds to spot something invisible in the air above the children’s heads. When the performer reaches up, he produces a genuine wax crayon! This is dropped into the hat and another is caught, then another, etc., etc., etc.

At the end of the routine, the hat is turned upside-down and a whole bunch of crayons are seen to spill out.

WORKING: The hat is ungimmicked. Either a classic magician’s top hat or in my case an inexpensive fishing hat may be used. It is even conceivable in this effect to borrow the baseball cap of some “lucky?” child may be wearing in the audience may be wearing to use as your receptacle. He/she then could be able to keep the mystical crayons after the production. That’s always good public relation and it costs only pennies.

A bunch of multi-colored wax crayons, the type children use for coloring purposes are palmed at the commencement of the routine. These are then held inside the palm as the same hand grasps the hat and shows it empty. In other words, the crayons are held against the inside of the hat near the brim. After showing it empty, the crayons are released and allowed to fall into the hat proper.

However, as the crayons are falling, the entertainer retains one single crayon inthis hands which is then thumb palmed (fig.#1) as the hat is transferred into the other hand.

After the music starts (assuming that you “are” using taped music) the first crayon is produced. This production uses the classic cigarette production move made famous by such legends as Cardini, Frakson, and Keith Clark. The digital illustrations show the move.

The Crayon held in thumb palm is brought upwards with the back of hand facing the audience. With a catching motion, the first and middle fingers are curled inwards to grasp the crayon (fig.#2) which are then extended bringing the crayon into full view.

The only difference in this version as opposed to the cigarette version is the position you end up in after the crayon is produced. Fifty odd years ago, after the cigarette was produced, it was held in-between the first and second fingers in the position most identified with smokers. In our version we are going to alter that to bring the crayon up to our finger-tips as in fig.#3.




After the initial production of the first crayon, the hand containing same is brought down and the crayon is dropped into the hat. However, as soon as the crayon is dropped the performer thumb palms a crayon of a different color and repeats the process. This is done several times. You will be amazed at how quickly the thumb palming of one crayon and the aquisition of another can be accomplished.

Near the end of the production. there is no need to switch crayon colors, merely pick-up speed and pluck the same color crayon out of the air and apparently drop it into the hat, over and over by re-thumb palming the same crayon as the hand enters the hat.

Then, with a grand flourish, turn the hat over and let the crayons fall…Bow…

This is phase one of the routine. You can end it here, or you may choose to expand the act to include the crayon vanish and reproduction described next month.

Presentation Idea: How about having a large artists drawing pad on an easle. After each color crayon is produced you proceed to draw a different element of the picture. When completed, the picture can be ripped off the pad and presented to an audience member.

September 1998

Co-Directors Notes: Ok people, here it is! ‘MY’ personal favorite this month. I feel that with the appropriate presentation, this can be a real feature effect. There is something about silk and rope effects that has an element audiences really find interesting. I know that this is one effect that will finds its way into my own act. I know a gem when I see one…BJG

B U F F’ S L E A F L E T S

R. C. Buff, Editor
NUMBER 3 1984

( Issued monthly and devoted exclusively to Rope Magic )

Ronald J. Dayton

Dear I.C.O.M reader.. this effect might well be called The One That Got Away! As you can see by the format given above, the effect first appeared in Buff’s Leaflets. Full sets and copies of same are now highly collectable. When it appeared in March of ’84, it was noted that I reserved the right to use it in a forth coming book. I never placed this handling in a book however, and so, you are reading it now, a brief fourteen years later.

EFFECT: The magician ties a silk handkerchief on to the center of a length of rope. Holding the rope vertically by one end

with his left hand, he anchors the lower end of the rope to the floor with his shoe. When the free hand pulls back the two ends of the tied handkerchief, just as an archer would an arrow.. when he lets go, the silk springs forward and shoots free of the rope. Silk is still tied with a genuine overhand knot.

EXPLANATION: The fine Joseph K. Schmidt drawings should pretty well tell the story.

1) Pinch the silk together at poing “X” in Fig. 1, then allow the ends to fall, so yo~ can grasp end hAN with the right hand and follow figures 1 through 5. ( Pay particular attention to how bight UZN is held with the R.H. second and third fingers as you

2) Figure 6 also shows a second diagram, a schematic view which depicts the silk as another rope.. .50 you may more clearly see how the knot has been formed.

3) The two ends of the silk are brought around the rope towards the performer as in Fig. 6 and 7, then held by the right hand as you allow the rope to hand down vertically from the left hand.

4) Allow the lower end of the rope to touch the floor and hold that end securely to the floor with your foot.

5) Pull back on the ends of the silk1 just as you would if you were drawing back a bow and arrow, Fig. 7. The tension will cause the silk to release itself from the rope.. but a knot will remain tied in the silk.

6) At this same instant, release your hold on the ends of the silk. You’ll find that it will shoQt forward as in Fig. 8.

7) A few trials will give you the knack of releasing the silk at the proper time. Enjoy!

What a great move!


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

Beginner’s Study 7/98-9/98

Official I.C.O.M Past Lesson Archive

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

July 1998


As Explained By Her Father

The two ultimate loves of my life, my wife Susan,and my daughter, do not share the same enthusiasm for magic that I do. They have, nevertheless, developed some impressive effects of their own from time to time. The beautiful impromptu levitation I am about to describe was created by my daughter Jennifer. At the time, she was just ‘goofing around’ when she first pulled the stunt on me. I immediately saw the strength of what she had discovered.

This effect is the levitation of a twenty ounce bottle of Coca-Cola.. complete with liquid and all! No gimmicks of any kind are used, and it may be done anywhere, at any time.

The illustration shows the newest 20 ounce bottle of Coke. It is the style with the easy grip shape. You will find that the label, which is approximately two inches wide, is recessed just off center of the length of the bottle. This label is made of extremely strong, thin plastic material.

To perform the impromptu levitation you will need to first remove the cap from the bottle, and consume just a bit of the contents. This should lower the liquid level about an inch and a half. Now, with the bottle held as shown in the right or left hand, the thumb presses inward on the plastic just below the bottom edge of the label, causing the plastic to indent. This in turn creates a small gap at the bottom of the label under which the thumb is worked. A slight side to side will allow you to gradually slip the thumb about three quarters of an inch under the plastic band. (see fig.#1)

With your thumb inserted under the band, you may release your grip on the bottle, spreading thumb and fingers wide. Your free hand, which is near to the bottle, mirrors the actions of the controlling hand. The hands move forward and upward, as if trying to capture the floating bottle.

By carefully watching your angles to those watching what is going on, the bottle actually seems to be drifting off in mid-air.

You may capture and re-release the bottle several times, but do not over play this. It is best too, if you secretly transfer the bottle from hand to hand, switching off on which thumbs are under the label at any given time. Alternating in this way throws off any suspicions the spectators may have had.

The dark color of the beverage conceals the true condition of the thumb and label…and the fact that it is a borrowed bottle which is very nearly full of liquid eliminates any thoughts of a hole or opening of some sort near the back is being employed.

Just think of the innocence of this effect. Think of the impact it has. Although the basic idea is not new, this method truly is! You have only to try it out for yourself to see how well it plays. I first offered it to the members of the S.A.M. via the pages of MUM magazine in September of 1995. I am proud to now share it with the members of I.C.O.M on behalf of my daughter Jenny.


August 1998

Old Dogs, New Tricks
Part #3

AutoMatic Two-To-One Ropes
Bobby J. Gallo

This is part three in an ongoing effort to re-vitalize magic of the past. Parts one & two can be found in their entirety in the I.C.O.M Archives. They are definitely worth checking out.

The modus operandi of this effect dates back at least one hundred years. It has been used by countless children and even a few amateur/professionals throughout the years. As a matter of fact, it can be found in literally hundreds of beginners books on magic. So why is it here if it can be found so many other places? Simple…We are updating this classic effect using different materials. This makes it an effect suited to beginners, but effective enough for professional performances, and as an added bonus, suitable for stage performance as well.

The effect is VERY straight forward. Two ‘one foot’ pieces of rope are seen held by the finger-tips. The performer proves this by pointing out that there is indeed four ends. Two of the ends are placed in a spectators hand. They are then asked to close their hand loosely around the ropes and turn their hand over. The magician then takes the remaining two ends that are “dangling” from the spectators hand and with a few magical incantations, asks the person to slowly open their hand. the ropes are seen to have magically joined themselves into one long two foot piece!

In the classic version of this effect, string (of the “twine” type) is used. In our version, we are going to use a material never before incorporated into this effect. Namely, a seamstress material called “CABLE CORD”. This can be purchased by the yard in most craft or material stores for about sixty cents (US) a yard. It is mainly used for making pillows, curtains, draperies, comforters, upholstered furnishings, etc. I bought 10 Yards of it for around $5.99. Size ‘200 works best for visibility purposes and enables the effect to go from the string trick class to the rope trick class.

You will need one two foot piece (see fig.#1). Do yourself a favor and tape the ends with the invisible “Scotch type” tape to keep the ends from unravelling. Cable cord seems to do this a lot!

What makes this type of cord suitable for this effect is the fact that it can be separated in the middle with the fingers (see fig.#2).

Figs.#1 & #2

After this is done. Take each side of the loop you have formed and twist them up into what appears to be just two innocent ends of rope. A joint will be formed right where the two rope ends meet the main body of the rope. A close-up view of the joint can be seen (see fig #4).

After this is done, hold the rope at the joint so the thumb covers the joint and makes it appear that you are holding two genuinely cut pieces of rope (see fig. #5).

Figs. #3 & 4#

Now you are ready to perform this mini-miracle. Proceed as stated in the above description. Do not make a big deal out of the fact that you are holding two pieces of rope. Let the visual evidence speak for itself. When placing the joint in the spectators hand, be sure to keep a finger over the joint until the spectator closes their hand. This is to ensure that they will not see the secret. Then, as they turn their hand over you grasp each end of the rope that is in view and give it a gentle tug. This causes the joint to dissolve in the persons hand and return to its natural state. Some will actually say that they FELT the rope join together, and in a way..THEY HAVE!

After the restoration, immediately, twirl and tug of the rope. This will appear to the audience that you are merely proving that the joined rope is solid. But is also serves the purpose of re-twisting the segments of the rope so that they appear un-bothered. If you do not do this, the center of the rope may look a bit uneven after the joining and will arouse suspicion.

So that’s it! Try it, you will be amazed at how effective it is. I use it in roving, trade show, and kid show situations professionally and it has proven to be a very clean and dependable effect.

September 1998

The Perfect Card Trick !?
Bobby J. Gallo

I know, I know, the title seems to be a bit of a stretch. The last time I gave a routine a grandiose title such as this was on Ultimate Magic Rap Vol. #1 when I entitled a card trick, “Magician’s Masterpiece”! Is this in the same league as that gem? Maybe, maybe not. You will have to decide. However, it will be curious to see by the end of this lesson, whether or not you may be wondering if this title may indeed be true. And if it is…..This piece of chicanery is PRICELESS.

What makes this really great is the fact that ANYONE, even the beginner who shuns card tricks can perform this feat! And it really is a FEAT. How can this be you ask? Well, before I go into the explanation, let me tell you how this came about.

I was sitting at a long table with my students when I asked them, if there were a PERFECT card trick. I mean a REALLY perfect card trick. What would it be? The following was the general answer that was given to me by most present (I’m not counting the one who stated that an entire pack of cards flying around the room through the air singly would be the perfect trick….kids….sheesh). Here, according to my students is a brief outline of the perfect card trick. Let’s see if you agree.

  • No gimmicked decks such as a Svengali or Stripper deck. The deck must be fully examinable.
  • The card must be FREELY selected, no forcing of ANY kind.
  • It must be returned to the deck without ANY kind of controls. Once it is in the deck, the cards must be fairly squared up. No BREAKS.
  • The cards must be shuffled and cut. Then cut again, and again, and again.
  • The magician then must be able to locate the card….WITHOUT EVER LOOKING AT THE FACES.
  • Throw in a BLINDFOLD and you will have yourself the PERFECT CARD TRICK!

WOW! Now that is what I call a laundry list of impossible circumstances! But is it? The answer will not only surprise you, it will knock you out with its simplicity & sheer audacity. Ready? here we go.

Effect: The magician states that he will perform the world’s most perfect card trick. A deck of cards is introduced, shuffled by an audience member who also takes out any card they choose. The magician takes back the deck and has the card returned to the center of same. The cards are now fairly squared and shuffled. Then legitimately cut many times. The card is really, really lost.

A blind fold is then introduced and the magician puts it on. He is then handed the deck which he continues to cut while blindfolded!

The blindfolded magician then takes the deck and ribbon spreads the cards face down onto the table.

The magi then holds his hands above the cards as if trying to get strange vibrations. He then starts to eliminate sections of the ribbon spread until only two cards remain. After much concentration he lifts one card up and turns it over dramatically. IT IS THE SELECTED CARD. Smelling salts are passed around for those who have fainted.

Working: I always tell my students that there is one price you must pay in order to be a magician. That is the sad fact that once the secret is learned, you will never be fooled by that trick again. Unless of course you have a memory lapse. But that being a very unlikely scenario, I would ask that you now please re-read the effect before I tell you the clever secret to this trick. Because once you learn it, you will probably say, you’ve got to be kidding! that is all there is to it? It’s too easy! It will never work! So please, humor me and re-read the Effect now…Click here.

Did you do it??? No? Ok, I’ll wait…

Did it? Great! Now on to the method.

Method: When the description of the effect stated that this trick used a completely un-gimmicked deck, that is true…almost. At least, not in the caliber of a Svengali or Electric Deck. The gaff is the same one that is used for “Magician’s Masterpiece” On Ultimate Magic Rap Vol.#1.* It is the Corner Short.

To make this card, you will need to take a joker and trim a little of the card stock off of two diagonal corners of the card. “Just slightly enough so that the corners are just a bit more rounded than the other two. Properly done, the audience can handle the deck with complete freedom and they will never be able to detect its presents. I have even laid out two cards in front of my students on a table ASKING them to tell me the difference between the two. It took them TEN MINUTES to spot the shaved corners. But to the trained eye, it is obvious.

The card prepared this way can be used for virtually hundred of effects but has classically been used for controlling one or more cards. For our purposes, we are going to use it in a way seldom, if ever before incorporated. And that is as a “Reverse Key Card”.

For those just starting in magic, a key card is a card that is placed just above the selected card. The cards then may be cut an infinite number of times without disturbing the order. Then when the performer runs through the deck. He knows that the card following the key card is the selection.

In most routines, the magician has to run through the deck looking at the faces to located the key card. Alternately, the Corner Short card is used to locate the card by riffling the cards with the thumb. When the cards stop with a ‘snap’ the magician knows that the selection is the next card.

In this method we are going to do neither. We are going to use the Corner Short as a “Visual” locater card. In this regard the trick is innovative.

  • Now, start with the Short Card on the bottom of the deck and proceed to have the card selected stressing the FREE CHOICE that the audience member has.
  • After the cards is noted by the audience, have it returned to the top of the deck and undercut the bottom half of the deck bringing the Corner Short card to a position above the selected card. If the cards have been shuffled by an audience member prior to the trick, riffle the cards and give them a final cut bringing the short card to the bottom of the deck.
  • Openly and carefully square the cards up. This gives the audience the impression that you are in no way controlling the card via sleight-of-hand.
  • Execute a false-shuffle if you wish. Or you can do what Ted Anneman, a famous mentalist used to do. Have the spectator give the cards a couple of ‘genuine’ overhand shuffles! Ted stated that there was an 8 out of 10 chance that the key card ‘would not’ be separated from the rest of the cards. Yes….it’s risky.
  • Have the cards legitimately cut many times by the audience. The more the better.
  • Have your self blindfolded. The method for this can be found in the I.C.O.M Archives entitled X-Ray Vision round two! Although, the blindfold is not at all necessary for the success of this feat.
  • The rest is just pure showmanship. Once the cards are ribbon spread, look for the corner short (the next card is the selection). The section of the ribbon spread cards containing this Corner Short should be eliminated early on so that you are REALLY clean. Since you know that the next card following the Corner Short is the selection, take your time building up to the climax to get the maximum effect. And also let me reiterate from past lessons. Always distance the time between the method and the climax. This way the audience is less likely to re-construct possible methods in their minds.

That’s it! The Perfect Card Trick !?….You decide.

* This tricks makes an excellent follow-up to Magician’s Masterpiece the do to the fact that they use the exact same gimmick and have sightly different effects.


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.

I.C.O.M Hot News Pages 7/97-6/98


This page is devoted to late-breaking news concerningI.C.O.M Online, it’s staff, students and the world of magic in general. Check with us regularly, we usually have news and information you will not find anywhere else!

May 1998

Coming to The International Conservatory Of Magic June 1998

Introducing “Shadows” a new I.C.O.M forum devoted to weird and bizarre magic. Features artwork by Ron dayton as well as monthly routines, poems, and spooky insights.

Are you ready ???

Mid-April 1998

A Brand New I.C.O.M Feature!

(or “out with the old and in with the new!”)

We are discontinuing our offer of the Free Amateur Magicians Handbook to new members, but are excited and proud to announce a new and better deal!

Details to follow

April 1998

Read This “Only” If You Love Your Magical Heritage!

“Pushing The Envelope”
Ronald J. Dayton

My dear I.C.O.M members, the thoughts I am about to share with you have been under consideration for a long, long time. I hope you will not feel I am abusing my position on the I.C.O.M staff to use these pages as a platform to plead my case. And, when all is said and done, perhaps I will have peaked your interest enough to encourage you to become a part of the movement.

Perhaps ten years ago or longer, a friend of mine with whom I was corresponding, Dale Bradfor Hearn, sent me several postage stamps from France. The stamps were all identical…each depicting a solitary figure. It was a likeness of Robert Houdin, the father of modern magic.

I was so inspired by the fact that a country thought enough of a historically important figure in magic such as Robert Houdin that they honored his memory and contributions and achievements in the form of a stamp that I immediately penned a letter to the Post Master General of the United States. I suggested that a series of stamps honoring past masters of magic in the United States would be well received as well. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that my letter had the impact of a lone cry for help in the wilderness. It went un-noticed, and unanswered.

Now, however, we have the power of the Internet. It would be possible to band together in one voice to make the same request. A voice consisting of so many voices, it can no longer go unheeded.

The staff of I.C.O.M is interested in hearing your take on this. Names or initials and state locations could be used just as if we were gathering signatures on a petition. if the list were massive enough, the Post Master General could not ignore the request. Various political representatives such as your Governor could be assaulted with requests in the same way. Perhaps even a well placed request, mentioning the suggestion made to the Post Master General, could be made directly to the White House as well. Why be shy when it is something this important to our magic history.

We have stamps of every type of animal, dinosaurs, flowers, cartoon characters, movie stars and movie monsters, famous inventors etc. Isn’t it time to include performers who began in tent shows, carnivals, vaudeville and were a part of Americana for well over one hundred years?!

I.C.O.M members could contribute suggestions for names which might be included for consideration…then we could formulate a master list, and post it for agreement. Names such as Willard the Wizard, Houdini, Thurston, Kellar, Herrmann etc. right up to more contemporary greats such asVernon and Slydini.

I can think of only one American magician who has been honored with a stamp, and that is David Copperfield. Sadly, it was not the United States Government that had this insight. He is honored by another country.

With proper planning, the movement I am proposing could actually hit its mark. It would be an important boon to magicians, collectors, and enthusiasts here in the U.S., and the world over. It will take time, to be sure…but the rewards would be so enormous. Please give this matter careful consideration, then contact I.C.O.M with your thoughts. Together, I am certain we can make a difference.

April 1998

The Introduction Of A Dynamic New “International” I.C.O.M Contributor!



The Campaign Against Magic Exposure Rages On!

Reader Response
Mid-March 1998

Who Are Really Concerned?

This was e-mailed to us in response to a posting on the BBS concerning a magician who thinks it is “OK” to ignore the exposures fearing more publicity will benefit the major network involved. He also expressed the views of a few that we should develop “new magic” as a means to make-up for the lost illusions that have been destroyed due to the exposure. This is an opposing point of view.

As far as giving this show further publicity.  I don’t completely agree that “all” publicity is “good” publicity.  If we expose the producers for what they are, and what they are doing, mainly taking food out of peoples mouths, you can bet that they will lose advertisers.

As far as new magic is concerned.  I really think that magicians would rather not be slaves to the actions of a few.  Meaning, what are we to do, develop new magic everytime there is an exposure?  The classics are just fine and always have been.  If new magicians would like to develop cutting edge material, fine… but leave the classics alone and secret.  Besides, the principles behind them are priceless as well as timeless, not the trick.

This whole situation has also opened my eyes to some very interesting insights concerning all magicians.  Except in a few cases, it seems that the non-professionals typically, are not to concerned with activism of any kind concerning these exposures. While the pro’s who depend upon these illusions to make a living and CANNOT AFFORD THE TIME OR EXPENSE to develop new material are the ones shaken.

Just my observations.

Opinion not necessarily that of I.C.O.M

March 1998


Ronald J. Dayton

The founding fathers of I.C.O.M…Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch asked recently if I had a position/ thoughts re: exposure in magic. They asked if I would be willing to make these opinions part of public record. I reflected on the matter, and in time, discovered that I had some very definite opinions. These were noted, and sent to I.C.O.M.

Now, weeks later, I find that I am still thinking about the topic…and coming to new conclusions. You may or may not agree with me, but I now feel that we often foster and contribute to exposure ourselves.

How can this be?! This fellow Dayton must be a few cards shy of a full deck to think I would ever encourage exposure in magic!

Relax a little. I didn’t make that statement to intentionally upset you…but maybe it’s a good thing that it did. Maybe the defensive posture and anger has opened your eyes. Now, I hope you will continue reading with an open mind as well.

Over the decades, various companies have used the exposure of magic as part of certain promotional campaigns. To site some early examples…Camel cigarettes printed a beautiful small premium or ‘give-away’ booklet in full color which was literally loaded with ‘current’ effects and methods of the day. The Plymouth Cordage Co. enlisted the talents ot no less a super-star of magic than Jarrow himself to explain various pieces of rope magic in a larger gloss print booklet they produced. In more recent times, certain cereal companies have exposed magic such as the visible color painting effect while stage versions were still being sold by magic dealers.

When we purchase these products or send away for their free premium items, we are all indirectly fostering exposure because the companies can only exaluate the numbers, to determine if the campaign is effective or not. They do not know when the material is being sought by the general public, or by a true magic enthusiast. This is not saying they should be excused for their actions. In many instances, they are revealing material which is NOT in public domain, and which directly hurts the magic community. The very least we should do would be to write or contact the CEO’s of these companies and voice our dissatisfaction.

Material being offered to the general public in the form of premiums/ promotions is very difficult to defend against. But there is yet another form of exposure which hurts us even more, and IS within our power to eliminate…the pirated effect.

We have all seen ads for the latest new creation which is soon followed by ads from other sources, offering ‘the same’ effect or version there-of, for less money. These secondary offerings are many times, pirated or stolen rip-off versions of the original. In most cases. they are not as well made and seldom routined in the same careful manner. What you get for your money is a cheap imitation. But what you also get, sad to say, is a stolen explanation of the method some other truly creative person thought of. That’s right, the thief is EXPOSING the secret of the originator. It doesn’t matter that you paid for it. You’re receiving stolen goods!

So, you’ve saved a couple of bucks. The savings came to you at the expense of the originator of the effect. Every sale the pirate got is one less taken in by the person most deserving of it, In time, the creative people lose heart, and stop making their material available to the magic community at large. We all end up losing because of the greed and lack of integrity of a few. In the long run, we’ve gained nothing by being supportive of the thief.

I would imagine we have all, unwittingly fallen into this trap. It’s difficult, if not impossible to always know which is the newest effect and who it’s originator was…but catalogs, magazines and reviewers can help to sort things out. We must simply try harder to remain more current. But those who knowingly buy pirated effects are nothing less than accessories-after-the-fact.

We are as guilty as the pirate. themselves when it comes to doing harm to the craft we profess to love.

February 1998

The following article by a respected magic columnist is the latest installment to our reader responses concerning recent nation-wide magic exposure.


Ronald J. Dayton

People have been exposing magic for decades. It is done for a number of reasons.. some good, and some not. An example of an honorable reason might be if a method is being divulged to unmask a charlatan who is misrepresenting magic to bilk money or goods from truly innocent people. On the other side of the coin, it is sometimes done to discredit another performer to make themselves look good. Exposure is often done out of ignorance and arrogance… but most often, it is done out of greed. This certainly seems true of blatant exposures of recent times.

The television special shown earlier in 1997 on the FOX network was a total sham. It was stated that the goal of the special was for the betterment of magic as a whole.. a means by which magician’s would be forced to develop newer and more deceptive effects and methods. What absolute RUBBISH to even suggest such a thing. Magic HAS NEVER needed exposure to stimulate change, growth or improvement.

The only goal, as I see it, that the special achieved was to line the pockets of certain parties directly involved. To boost sagging ratings, and to disillusion the non magic oriented individuals who were watching.

Several of the ‘tricks’ which were exposed were absolute treasures to magic. They were not things which can be improved upon. They were pure gems exactly as they were.. and to reveal the methods behind then was nothing short of criminal.

It took Robert Harbin three years to perfect the Zig Zag. The various cabinets and prototypes are explained in his book ” Harbincadabra.” It was insulting enough to this creative genius that hand measurements of his masterful illusion were taken without his knowledge by an American and brought back to the U.S. what final insult, after his death, to have the exact method revealed to a random nation wide television audience of lay people.

To reduce the linking rings to one or two basic moves simply to reveal the way it works is shameful. Just think of the artistry Jack Miller, Dai Vernon, Luna Shemada. Jonathan Neil Brown and Jeff McBride to name only a few have given to this classic. Every subtlety and nuance… every psychological ploy and clever bit of misdirection has become a victim to the unthinking actions of a few.

Some will say…” Don’t worry yourself. There has always been exposure, and we always get through it!” This may be true…but, at what cost? At whose expense? Where does the selfishness end, and a sense of integrity begin!?

January 1998

National TV Exposure…Who’s Fault?
(Reader Responses)

This is a reply sent to us addressed to a brother magi who communicated that he thought the recent lawsuit action taken by certain magicians against the major TV Network in question is a mistake.

Dear Brother Magi,

I have never seen a subject worth debating that did not have valid points on both sides.  This one included.  Though I agree that a law suit “will” promote the special, I also see the logic in it.  By that, I am not stating that a lawsuit is the answer to this problem.  Let’s face it…it is a truly double edged sword.  For not only will a lawsuit serve to promote these shows, but the magicians filing it will never have a prayer of being featured on anything magic related on that network in the future.

But that being said….., what is the answer?  This world doesn’t know any other course of action that does not involve the courts in some way or another.  I wish that were not the case, but it is.

So what should we do?  Ignore it?  And the next special, and the next, ignore those too?  Until America is full of trick conscious lay people that ALL have a working knowledge of magic?

Maybe we can then have an SAM or IBM membership drive for every household in America so everyone from now on can only appreciate the artistry of magic and throw all the wonder aspects out of the window!  Because for literally dozens of my audience members over the past few weeks, that has already happened because of ONE SPECIAL!  THE WONDER IS GONE for them, and they are only the ones that I am aware of because they have continually approached me before during and after my gigs. So much so, that I have come to the realization that this IS having a negative impact on us and our art whether one would like to admit it or not.

Magicians(?) can preach to me all they want about how people will now appreciate magic in different ways such as the artistry and presentation and it will not change a thing.  Why?…because that is nonsense, plain and simple.  The cornerstone of magic has ALWAYS BEEN MYSTERY ……PERIOD!  Not dance, not originality, not an expertly executed pass, not a carefully crafted comedic line, not the newest invisible thread dispenser………IT IS MYSTERY….and without it there is no magic.

Harry Houdini, Thurston,  Kellar, Slydini, Vernon, all the greats, would be rolling over in their collective graves about this (come to think of it they probably are!).

Magic is continually being degraded because of things like this and we do nothing about it.  WE are the problem, not television networks, because WE continually allow it to happen.  But it has to stop somewhere.  And where Are all the big guns in magic?  They had better speak up as well or on the next special, the single basic principle behind 90% of their illusions may well be exposed. So Jim, magicians on the other side of the isle may have valid points, but I am still waiting to hear what the correct course of action IS?

A Concerned Professional Magician…

Opinion not necessarily that of I.C.O.M

December 1998

National TV Exposure…Who’s Fault?


The magic world has been turned on its collective ears recently with a television special devoted to the exposure of our beloved magical art. While it is indeed true that much of the blame rests with the people who created this fiasco, responsibility must also be claimed by the magic community itself.

If one examines many fraternal organizations that exist, such as the Masonic Lodges, Knights of Columbus, etc. A stunning realization takes root. These organizations have existed for several centuries and yet, members do a better job of keeping fraternal secrets from the public than magicians do with magic! One may argue that most magicians do their best in keeping their tricks of the trade under wraps, but it has to be admitted that magic tricks and books are far too available to the general public for magics own good. That is not to say that there is not a proper stable of magic that is suitable for the public, for indeed, so-called “cereal box” magic is fine for whetting the appetites of would be professionals and serious hobbyists. But when just about anyone with enough money is able to purchase just about any illusion built. Then episodes like the one seen on national television were just waiting to happen.

Is it possible to keep the secrets of magic in closed fraternities similar to the way the ones noted above do with their knowledge? Of course it is! We just have to step back, look at the big picture, and understand what magic is all about.


November 1997

Now Playing In Our “Members Only” Area!

The I.C.O.M Live Cyber-Radio Lecture!

We here at I.C.O.M are on the brink of completing the most innovative concept the world of magic has ever seen. By the end of November, members and non-members alike will be treated to a magical experience without peer. The I.C.O.M Live Cyber-Radio Lecture! Once a month to start, dates to be announced. The I.C.O.M Instructors will be providing a “Live” audio feed directly from our own I.C.O.M studios here in the great state of New Jersey. This feed will be available around the globe and will feature magic lectures “Live” in our members only area, students will have the opportunity to learn through this fantastic new medium. Stay tuned to this News Page for further details on how “YOU” can attend.

This month: Rare studio footage of never before heard portions of the original Ultimate Magic Rap Recording session! Topics include the use of “Simplicity” in magic and “One of the four most difficult aspects of being a magician” and how to overcome it!

October 1997



During the last week of October through the first week of November, our password protection went down temporarily due to the change from to the all new location,

And by the looks of our hit counter, word spread fast and many visited the Inner Sanctum and previewed all the great features I.C.O.M has to offer. We fully expect any who ventured in to sign up and become full fledged I.C.O.Mer’s!

However, our accidental visitors do not enjoy the real benefits of I.C.O.M. Only our official I.C.O.M members get virtual lessons as well as other benefits reserved for those who sign up. So please, anyone who inadvertently entered I.C.O.M, don’t try to e-mail us with questions on any material you may have seen. We know who you are!!!!!!!

August 1997

Famous Bookstore to Announce the Formation of The International Conservatory of Magic!

Barnes and Noble of Ledgewood New Jersey will host Bobby J. Gallo and Bill Wisch on Saturday, July 26, 1997, to officially and formally announce the opening of I.C.O.M and I.C.O.M Online. Everyone is invited. There will be performances of magic for the whole family as well as other great surprises… all designed to kick off the first and foremost world-wide magic school of its kind, The International Conservatory of Magic.


I.C.O.M Online Co-Director Bobby J. Gallo and the World’s Greatest Mind Reader “Kevin Wisch” Showing the audience how it’s done at the Barnes & Noble of Ledgewood New Jersey where the Grand Opening of I.C.O.M Online was announced!


  • 1. Wanted: Dai Vernon’s Tribute to Nate Leipzeig. (book) E-mail:
  • 2. Wanted: Any magic manuscripts for booklets from an old magic catalog company called House of a Thousand Mysteries. Most material authored by a magician named Vic Lawson. E-mail:
  • 3. Wanted: Rice Silks. E-mail:
  • 4. Computer Games For Sale: $7.00 ea. All are like new, cd-rom, value $30.00 to $60.00 ea! E-mail for complete list:
The “Back Page” Classifieds are provided Free to I.C.O.M Online members. Classifieds may be placed by non-members at the rate of $10.00 per 3 months for each classified ad of 60 words or less. All ads include free E-mail link. (members be sure to include your I.C.O.M Online membership # when placing classifieds for discount)
I.C.O.M Online reserves the right to limit and/or restrict any and all contents of classifieds. Dealers may not advertise in “The Backpage” but may inquire about advertising banners available all throughout the I.C.O.M Online Web-site.


The Secret Passageway 7/97-6/98


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

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!

July 1997

An I.C.O.M Cryptogram
Ron Dayton

In the word search shown are concealed the names of nine famous magicians. Can you find and circle them? (you may want to print this out first, after all, who wants to draw on their monitor!?) Using the first letter of each name…what word will it spell that means magic?

Answers: Next Month!

July 1997

Magical Trivia

He was the brother of the most famous escape artist who ever lived. After his brother’s untimely death, he toured as a famous magician himself. Who was he?
(Complete name required)

August 1997

The Haunted House

My Favorite Poem
Recited by
Bobby J. Gallo

This is the poem I used to open my “seance” shows with. It never fails to instill chills in my audience. I learned it as a small child and it still brings shivers everytime I recite it. I hope you enjoy it <G>……………..

Not a window was broken, and the paint wasn’t peeling.
Not a porch step sagged, yet there was a feeling.
That beyond the door, and into the hall.
This was the house, of no one at all.

No one who slept, or laughed, or ate, or said I love, or said, I hate.

Yet something walked, along the stairs, something that was, and wasn’t there.

That is why weeds, on the walkway grow high.
And even the moon, races fearfully by.

For something walks, along the stairs, something that “is” and isn’t there.

I claim no originality for the above poem. If anyone knows who wrote it, please attach it to this thread. They deserve full credit for such a masterpiece. As I said, I learned it as a child from a book I think I read in fourth or fifth grade and have remembered ever since. Or has it remembered me??????????????

September 1997

A True Story

Strange Vibrations
Bobby J. Gallo

Many of you may know that I just got back from a tour up and down the east coast. It was a great string of events with an interesting experience that happened to me at one particular college date.

The school where I performed my full evening show was situated in upper New England. It was a rural school with great students. Before the show I was given a key to my sleeping accommodations. It was the oldest building on campus. Over 180 years old (and smelled like it!). It was originally the main school building many, many years ago, but now served as a campus guest house and in that capacity, only used on certain occasions. Such as visiting performers and faculty. (lucky me!?)

When I first arrived, I noticed that in the “Great Room” of the old mansion, there were old paintings of various people from all eras of American history. These people had something to do with the school in one way or another during their lives. Now all were long gone and their images were enshrined in this ancient parlor.

When I entered the house, the strangest feeling came over me. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck and I really couldn’t say why? I joked to myself about this place being haunted because of the age of the building coupled with he fact that the room with the portraits downstairs looked like something out of the haunted houses in certain very popular theme parks. Also, the fact that I was the only one staying in this old mansion fueled the humorous notion.

Before the show, I was talking to my contact at the school. I joked with her about the house and the fact that it look like to could be haunted. She replied, “You mean you heard about that place?” What? I said!

It so happens that dozens of people have experienced supernatural happenings in that old mansion. Everyone from campus security guards to faculty have reported the ghost of a woman. My contact told me not to worry because she was supposedly a “friendly spirit!” However, one student told me to be afraid, be very afraid. Was I? Suffice to say that after the performance, I quietly went back into the old mansion, up to my room, packed my things and drove all night back home to New Jersey. It was the last gig on my tour and the drive was about 6 1/2 hours. I know I could have went to a hotel, but at that point it was difficult to sleep!

October 1997

“The Web”

An original effect in the realm of the bizarre
Bobby J. Gallo

Effect In Story Form, Script In Italics:

The apprehensive participants enter the room, where a dark, vampiric looking medium stares at them with an unnerving icy glare. “Welcome” he bids, as the layman gather around a large oak table ready for what could possibly be a most memorable glance into realms unseen to the living. The medium begins as the overhead chandelier with what looks like a decade of cobwebs, flickers on the verge of plunging the entire room into eerie darkness.

You are all here to have me beckon spirits and entities from the other side this evening. (A low rumble of thunder in the far distance)

This request I shall accommodate! says the medium in a rather authoritative way. But first we must decide who it is we shall communicate with. Or should I say what?! You see, not all earthbound spirits are those of former humans. Some traditions hold that all creatures, even trees have an almost conscious force that permeates their entire being and then leaves upon death. Look above you! The audience does this as the medium describes what they see. Cobwebs! Made by natures most perfect and most ruthless predator, “The Spider”! At this moment, the lights are extinguished.

Everyone Join hands, and concentrate.

Imagine, if you will, just for a moment. You are a common housefly. flying carefree through vast open spaces that seem to have no end. Only the space is dark, is it night? Or is just a small enclosed space deep within a cellar that seems universal compared to your small almost insignificant form.
You are flying, flying, flying…………………………

All of a sudden, you stop. You seem to be caught in something!
(the mediums voice all of a sudden seems to take on a tone of urgency!) It seems sticky, tangled, yet made of the finest silk. Then terror rushes through your entire tiny being as you realize where you are. You are caught, and even as you contemplate your situation you realize that you are being stalked, closer, and closer it comes. All of a sudden you hear a hisssssss and it strikes! (at this moment the audience does indeed hear a hiss and a scream!)

Pandemonium breaks loose in the room, the circle is broken as one the sitters rushes for the lights only to find out when the darkness is lifted, that all of the participants are present, except one!

There, where one the audience members sat is an empty chair with a skull covered in ethereal spiders webs! No trace of the spider is to be found. Water is thrown on those who have fainted.

Secret Formula:

The three essential ingredients for this horrifying effect are as follows. First is the classic “mediums grip” that is used to convince the audience that your hands are held once the lights are out.

The second is the novelty item sold in party stores known as party string. It comes in a can and can be carried secretly on the mediums person until ready. The string is available in many colors but I recommend black. (Bright yellow or orange string can hardly pass for a spiders web!) I have yet to see white string, and black just seems to add a weird feeling to it.

Third is an imitation rubber skull also found in party stores around Halloween time.

When the lights go out, The performer uses the mediums grip to free his/her right hand. At the same time, a confederate (stooge) leaves their chair and replaces him/herself with the rubber skull they have been carrying secretly before the routine began. The performer during the blackout merely sprays the skull with the string. The spraying process sounds like a hissing noise and actually adds to the effect! Be sure not to accidentally spray the spectators, it is a good idea to have the confederate’s seat positioned well away from everyone else so that in the dark you know where to spray the string. Not to mention the fact that your secret helper will have a better chance of sneaking out un-noticed!

And remember, I have used this stunt many times and it “Will” make people scream and freak out! so be prepared for a lot of commotion!

Creators Thoughts:

A different version effect (actually the original version) first appeared in an altered form in “The New Invocation” No# 78 a publication devoted to weird and bizarre magic. The routine was re-written by the editor of that magazine with my permission. It appears here in the ICOM Secret Passageway in an updated form.

The routine the way it originally appeared had aspects that actually made the effect a little “too frightening”, so I felt it wise to tone the presentation down a bit.

One last thought. The title of this routine was created before the release of a popular marketed close-up item with the same name.

November 1997

Pseudo Spirit Trick

You can produce strange noises answering questions while seated at a table. One tap for yes, two taps for no. All done with both hands in view the entire time.

Method: A stick is placed in an empty cigar tube and affixed in some manner to the leg. A thread runs from the bottom of the stick to the other leg. By merely spreading the knees, the stick rises and falls thus creating “tap like sounds” under the table.

January 1998

Don’t Read This!

Unless you would like the answers to the cryptogram at the top of page.

Answers: Carter, Okito, Neff, Jarrett, U.F. Grant, Richardi, Ireland, Nelson, Goldin = Conjuring…

April 1998


Author Unknown
Adapted By Ronald J. Dayton
From Text In 1964 Hades Gram Magi-zette

The typographical error is illusive and quite sly.

You can search till you go crazy but it somehow slips right by.

It crouches in dark corners and never moves or peeps

Till the print is off the presses, then boldly, out it creeps.

This typographical error was unseen by human eyes

Till the copy’s on the paper and the ink all fully dries.

Yes, the rest of that whole issue is as clean as it can be.

Still that typographical error is the only thing you’ll see.

In his book, ” The Magic of 1937 “

Author, inventor and performer, Eric C. Lewis suggests;


June 1998

The student may wonder why the dates on the following works are nearly six years old. The reason is one that is indicative of many pieces of material found all throughout I.C.O.M. It is “buried treasure” finally seeing the light of day (or should we say “dark of night”). This is a series of previously un-released periodicals devoted to bizarre and psychic magic. In publishing these “masterpieces”, we will try to maintain the integrity of the original manuscripts by making as few changes as possible to the text and format. When the originals are exhausted, new ones will be released as they are presently in the process of being created right at this moment!…So with all of this in mind…Turn out the lights, lock the doors, and enjoy the first installment of “Shadows….

The International Conservatory Of Magic Proudly Presents

artwork copywrite 1998 Ronald J. Dayton

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

Who knows what mysteries lurk in the shadows!? Darkness surrounds us before our first breath, and after our last. It is the time between, we hope to illuminate.

Shadows, like thoughts, are intangible, ghostly reflections. YOU are the source which gives it substance. We control the shadows of our lives, by moving forward and seeking light as opposed to standing idle, unable to see the darkness we’ve come to accept.

Ronald J. Dayton 12-15-92

“Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.”
Francis Bacon

Page Two

Co-Directors Note: The effect that originallly appeared in the first issue of “Shadows” was called “Psy-Clip Powers”. However, due to the fact that this fine effect recently appeared in M.U.M Magazine, we are holding off on the publication and instead, giving everyone an exclusive piece created just for us!…Thanks Ron.


Ronald J. Dayton

As the title for this effect indicates, it has been named, tongue-in-cheek, specifically for use on the world’s first INTERNET School of Magic. It is a divination type effect or second sight thich involves several toy novelty spiders suspended from a mono-filament string.

Each spider has a fifteen inch length of mono-filament or clear fishing line threaded through its center so the line will not pull out. At the opposite end of the length you have tied a one inch diameter plastic curtain ring. In addition, each spider has had a different color geometrical shape painted on its upper abdomen. The colors and shapes are: A yellow circle, a green square, a blue rectangle and a red triangle.

Your assistant displays each spider dangling by its ring from the fingers of the hand. while you are securely blindfolded, one member of the audience freely chooses one of the spiders and hands it to you behind your back. After a moments thought, you are able to reveal the shape and color painted on the spider’s back.

The secret to this effect lies in a subtle code supplied by the lengths of fishing line from which each spider is suspended. The line for the red triangle is ungimicked. The blue rectangle has a single overhand knot tightly tied in the line about two inches from the curtain ring. The green square has a single knot tied mid-length in the line, and the yellow circle has a knot tied about two inches above the spider.

when the spiders are placed in your hand, the other hand gets hold of the fishing line Just above the spider and the line is pulled through that hand until the ring is pulled in to it. The spider is then allowed to hang freely as you hold the line by its ring. This simple action of pulling the line through your first finger and thumb while seemingly Just getting control of the ring allows you to ‘feel’ the tiny knot ( or lack there of ) tied in the fine fishing line. when you know where the knot is, you then know the color and shape which you have committed to memory.

Years ago. performers had success by presenting some of their effects with a clever rhyming patter. A similar rhyming verse has been developed to reveal each of the colors and shapes. You of course have the option to use this style presentation or not, as you see fit.

You might choose to build your story around the popular recent movie, ARACHANAPHOBIA. A terrifying movie for most…even more so for people with a genuine fear of spiders.

This effect is based on a color divination effect I created several years ago called Orna-mental in which Christmas ornaments were suspended from lines and hanging hooks. I have added the geometric shapes to give the spider •ffect more depth. I have also modified the knot code which identifies the colors and shapes..

The rhymes used in the revelation for each spider are as follow:

This friendly guy is harmless and mellow. His shape is a circle, his color is yellow.

This spider won’t hurt you. He’s meek, and quite fair. The color is green…the shape is a square.

This arachnid is common, found both near and far. The color is blue, a rectantular bar.

This spider is deadly, a Black Widow here dangles. Their color blood red, their shapes are triangles.


It will take a little work to memorize the colors and shapes, but it certainly isn’t beyond your capabilities. It’s good to work for an effect rather than have it come too easy. It gives you a real sense of accomplishment when you eventually succeed.

Give some thought to other objects which could logically be suspended from a length of line. We’ve already mentioned ornaments. How about fish, kites, toy airplanes etc.!? You could easily take this knot code principle and expand upon it to create new and exciting effects and variations of your own.


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

Kid Show Konservatory 4/98-6/98


Dedicated to the fine art of entertaining children with magic!


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 ins and outs of working kid shows, how to prepare for them, booking them, performing them, etc. etc. etc.

April 1998

To be completely honest with all of I.C.O.M I was planning to start my series on Crayon effects this month. But alas, I find myself going on yet another performance tour tomorrow. I was prepared to spend the entire night photographing the digital images that were planned on being here, And I would have done that since there is nothing more important to my magical existence than our I.C.O.M membership. But then I was given a request by one of our new members overseas to supply a routine for the classic egg bag. After reading Ron Dayton’s excellent treatise on the bag (found in our very own archives), they were intrigued enough to ask if I had any ideas for a complete routine. Boy do I…! I typed out a “virtual lesson” to our esteemed member and was very pleased to say the least. The following is my complete professional routine that use at every show! In retrospect, I could not offer anything better in this forum than what you are about to read.

Commando Egg Bag
“A Professional Routine”
Bobby J. Gallo

I call this the Commando Egg Bag for the very reasons set forth in our Cyber-Magic Text Book (tm) entitled Commando Magic ™. It is streamlined commercial magic with a simple premise and maximum impact. I have done this on television as well as literally thousands of “live” performances. If you compare this to earlier published versions of classic egg bag routines, you will notice that I do not introduce extra props into the bag as a climax or use the “under the arm gag” that everyone and their brother uses. Not to say that prop climaxes are bad. It is just that this routine was designed for a specific purpose. And that is to be practical to the working pro. But there is no reason it will not work for the serious amateur as well.

The following is an exact transcription of The Virtual Lesson.

I am going to give you “MY” original egg bag routine that I use over here in the USA.  I do it at EVERY show and it never fails to get a fantastic response.

It is based on an idea from Ken Brook that shows that an egg bag routine does not have to be very complicated to work well.  All that is required is an egg and the bag. (I use a wooden egg)

Start by having the egg already inside the pocket and the bag turned inside out before the start of the routine.  Take the bag placing one hand inside the bag and slapping the bag with the other hand to prove it is empty.  Ask the audience, “what is on the outside of the bag?”  They will answer, “nothing”  Now, turn the bag inside out again, (actually, you are now turning the bag, right side in but the audience does not know this)  Slap the bag again asking the same question and they will give you the same response, “nothing”.

Now hold the egg in the upper corner of the secret pocket in the palm of your hand as you allow a spectator to feel inside the bag.  Ask them if there is anything in there.  They will say again,”nothing”

Remember, at this point, do not tell them what you are about to do.  Let the appearance of the egg be a surprise and it will get a great response.

After the spectator removes their hand, have the whole audience raise their hands and say a magic word.  Ask them to wave their hands towards the bag. at this moment drop the egg down into the bag, reach in and act as though you do not know what it is, take the egg out and look very surprised. (this always gets a laugh because an egg is a naturally funny object to look at, so take advantage of this fact!)

Now I Challenge the audience to see if they can catch me make the egg vanish.  This gets them very interested and makes them watch the routine very closely.  Challenging the audience is an old Slydini ploy.

Take the egg and slowly place it into the bag.  As you do this, place it inside the pocket and now allow the spectator to feel the egg through the bag.  Ask them if it is there.  They will say “YES”.  Then ask them to hold out their hand.  And in one smooth motion, take the hand out of the bag as though it were holding the egg. (actually, the egg is now in the bag inside of the secret pocket) and place the imaginary egg in the spectators hand acting as though you are really doing it.  Look away as you are doing this and pretend not to notice that there is no egg in the spectators hand. One of two things may happen at this point.

A) The spectator thinks that you are letting them in on some inside magic secret and will actually pretend to hold the egg.  In which case you can do a real miracle by waiving your hands and asking the spectator to open their hand up revealing that the egg has vanished.

B) They will look shocked to see that the egg has vanished and will stare at their hand in astonishment.  Some will actually say that they saw the egg vanish in their hand….It’s true!

Either way, you will get some applause at this point.  Now you are set to go through the first set of moves to prove that the egg is NOT in the bag. (Inside out, spectator feels inside the bag, etc…) After this is done. I have two comedy endings that I use.

1) If someone is wearing a hat in the audience, I tell them that the egg in under it.  When they lift their hat I say “wouldn’t that be amazing!” This gets a big laugh…

2) After the spectator feels inside the bag to show that it is empty, drop the egg in the bag through the pocket and ask them to feel inside again. They always take the egg out.  Do not look while they are doing this and pretend that they did not take out anything.  This gives you the opportunity for a lot of comedy.  If you are working for kids they will scream like crazy trying to tell you that the spectator has the egg.

Finally look at the spectator, notice that they have the egg and act very surprised.  Motion for the audience to give the spectator applause, get your egg back! and bow.

The one aspect of the egg bag I have found needs the most rehearsal is getting the egg in and out of the pocket smoothly.  That is why I developed the ploy of placing the egg in the pocket while the spectator is feeling the egg through the bag.  This works very well.

This routine first appeared as a “Virtual Lesson” to an I.C.O.M. member. One more reason everyone should take advantage of them……
To those wishing to do this routine and do not own an egg bag, there is a quality felt bag available through the I.C.O.M Online Catalog called the E-Z Egg Bag.

May 1998

Co-Directors Note: What can be more familiar to a child than a drinking straw? The following routine is well worth your study as it can be a worthwhile addition to any performance for children. It also constitutes the first in our series of magic that can be done with crayons. This is my kind of magic. Simple in premise, and dynamite in effect. Hopefully it will be a favorite of yours too…BJG

“Surprising Straw Variation”
Ronald J. Dayton

On page 148 of Henry Gordon’s book, ” Henry Gordon’s World Of Magic,” you will find an effect called A Surprising Straw. His effect is novel and has a nice surprise ending to it. My version creates the identical effect. Only the handling has been modified a bit, allowing you to use objects longer than a soda-straw which has been cut in half. If you wish, you may also eliminate the comedy ending, and do a straight vanish and reproduction of the object.

You may use a full length soda-straw if you would like, or a crayon, or any other wand-like object of appropriate length. The handling I am giving uses a standard *2 pencil which has been cut down in length one and one half inches with a coping saw.

Begin with the pencil held at the eraser end as shown in Fig. 1. The other hand holds an opaque handkerchief at one corner. The hanky is draped over the pencil as in Fig. 2. For a brief moment, the end of the pencil is grasped by the left hand at X through the material of the handkerchief as the right hand turns palm down. The right hand is in a very relaxed fist, and the eraser end is inserted deep into the fork of the right hand first and second fingers. The left hand releases its hold and lowers momentarily to your side. The covered pencil is displayed.

The left hand now grasps the hanky at point Z in Fig. 2 and begins to pull it back off the right hand. In a simultaneous move, the right hand swings upward and fingers extend. The two movements should be timed so the empty palm of the right hand is facing the audience as the removal of the hanky by the left hand is completed. The pencil will be concealed at the back of the right hand, Fig. 3. Angles are important. Shorter objects are not as critical.

Now your options may be applied. For the comedy reveal…the left hand immediately tosses the empty hanky into the air and allows it to fall to your table or floor. With palm facing the audience, the left hand criss-crosses in front of the left. The hands move back toward your mouth, where the unsharpened end of the pencil is taken between your teeth. Then, after a moment, the hands lower to reveal the missing pencil held in your mouth. This will kill a bit of the magic…but it will bring you a nice laugh. Perhaps as a lead-in to some serious sleight of hand, this would be very nice indeed.

If on the other hand you would like to keep it purely magic… this is how you might choose to proceed. The hank is retained in the left hand after the initial vanish, and the pencil is concealed at the back of the right hand. With the right palm still toward the audience, the left begins to cover the right once again with the handkerchief. ( Shake the hanky well before hand so they know it is empty…or toss and catch it prior to the covering.) Once the right hand is almost half way under the hank, it lowers and turns palm up. In other words, the covered right hand now rests flat and palm up under the hank. The pencil is suspended beneath it and concealed by the draping of the handkerchief. The left hand now pats against the palm of the covered right hand to show in this way that the right hand is empty. The first finger and thumb of the left hand now reach in and grasp the center of the hanky at the right hand palm and begin to slowly lift it up. As it does, you turn your right hand over so it assumes the position shown in Fig. 2. The left hand releases its grip once the pencil is fully upright, and allows it to be shown as in Fig. 2. You again take hold of end X for just a moment as the right hand repositions itself, taking hold of the eraser end of the pencil as in Fig. 1. The handkerchief is now lifted away for the reveal of the reappearance of the pencil at the right hand fingertips.

Any object which may be clipped between the first and second fingers…or an object, the end of which can be gimmicked so it may be clipped between the fingers will work for this effect. Wands, candles, bread-sticks etc. Crayons, ladies curlers for their hair, if its of the correct general shape and length, you just may be able to use it. Best of luck in your search…

Variation for adult performances only!

Naturally, for those of you who still smoke…cigarettes and cigars may also be used (of course this is not appropriate for childrens shows, but may be effective for adult cabaret performances). Even a pipe which is not too heavy might work well. Bowl end must point in the right direction to be deceptive.

June 1998

Co-Directors Note: OK,…I admit it! I perform over 400 shows a year and YES,…I use a rubber chicken!!! Why you ask? Because it’s funny!…Period. That being the case, I was extremely delighted when Ron showed this manuscript to me containing the following material. I can praise it no higher than to say that as of this moment, I am actually using more than a few of the following lines. If the Kid show entertainer is looking for pure entertainment, in my estimation, one of the best investments he/she will ever make is in purchasing a rubber chicken. (I can’t believe I just said that, but its true) ….BJG

“You Say It…I’m Too Chicken”
Ronald J. Dayton

My friend, Jim Klein, editor and publisher of ” The Magician’s Home Companion “ has once again consented to my using material from that three volume hardbound set. This time it happens to be lines and ideas for the classic.. Rubber Chicken. Thank you Jim!

Alright then. You’ve just pulled your chicken from a square-circle, or from under your jacket.. now what? It may be true that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but it’s not entertainment. You’ve got to say something son! Here are eight ideas which will will either make you a hit.. or get you hung. Are you feeling lucky?

1) This punch line isn’t mine. All I’ve done is to dress up the presentation a little. Take your chicken and tie a two foot length of one inch wide red ribbon to each leg. Now sling the chicken over your back, bringing the ribbon over each shoulder and tying it at the front of your neck in a bow. When you enter, make sure the audience sees the chicken hanging down your back. Turn to face them, undo the ribbons and hold the chicken out in full view at your side. Say, ” What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever seen a magician with his cape on?” ( Capon )

2) Hold the chicken by the legs in one hand and hit it with a small plastic baseball bat held in the other hand. Look at the audience and say, ” Battered Chicken!” Smack the bird so it flies out of your hand. Now tell the, ” Oh, oh.. fowl ball.” Be sure to emphasize the word FOWL.

3) Make a slit in the lower end of your bird and insert a small squeeze-bulb bicycle horn. Display the Rubber Chicken and secretly honk the horn. Look at the audience and tell them it’s a “Leg horn Chicken.”

4) This is for those of you who own U.F. Grant’s Comedy Climax Egg Bag. Dissect the legs, wing sections, and head from a Rubber Chicken and use them to replace the cloth chicken parts found in the Grant bag. In this way, the “chicken” you transform the bag into at the end of the routine will look 100 times better than the original.

5) This use for the Rubber Chicken may be regional, depending upon which products are available in your supermarkets, and how well they are known to the audience. Here in Wisconsin, it works well. Take some foam rubber and some red felt material.

Make a small set of boxing gloves and form them so they may be placed on the feet of the Rubber Chicken. When you bring the chicken into view, look at the gloves and say, ” You’ll never guess what I got at the supermarket today.. .Tyson Chickens.” ( If your audience doesn’t know who Mike Tyson is.. find another town to work.)

6) Novelty shops now have small Rubber Chickens on key chains available. They look just like the normal sized chickens, and they offer a lot of potential for magic. You could have shrinking
or growing chickens. How about a ” chick (chip) off the old block?” The small chicken could be produced from within a plastic egg which appeared in your egg bag. This could be a tie-in to the Grant Egg Bag mentioned earlier.

7) Cut a slit in a Rubber Chicken and insert either a real or an artificial orange. During the show, display the chicken and have it ‘lay’ the orange. Say, “I’ve heard of orange duck before but this is but this is ridiculous.” Produce a small plastic bowling ball and tell the audience its for the ” Pin Feathers!”

8) Two ideas which involve a Rubber Chicken and a play-on-words are as follow: Pin a large name tag on the front of your chicken. The name printed boldly on the tag is TUCK. Look at the Rubber Chicken and then at the name tag. Tell the audience, ” Must be a fryer.” ( Friar ) For the second suggestion, tie a thin blue curtain sash cord around the chicken’s nick. Your comment to the audience? ” Chicken Cord-On-Blue!” ( Cordon Bleu )

All of this may never answer the question Jim Klein asked, “Which came first, the Rubber Chicken or the Weller Egg?” But it may offer some ideas to those inclined to flaunt the latex bird. Not something everyone might wish to embrace, to be sure. But at the right time…in the right hands…it can be pure magic.


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

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

Slydini Legacy 4/98-6/98


Slydini Legacy 4/98-6/98

Tony Slydini and Bill Wisch shared a unique bond. It was an association that went beyond the normal student teacher relationship. Bill was the only student of Slydini that Tony actually entrusted much of his most valued secrets and philosophies. Much of this material has been withheld from the magical community to this day! To the students of I.C.O.M Online, a special feature and opportunity is presented. The inside secrets of Slydini. This is our way of preserving the brilliance of Tony for all time. Bill will be releasing bits and pieces monthly for all of I.C.O.M. Such material needs to be absorbed a bit at a time. It is priceless knowledge.

The Slydini Legacy
by Bill Wisch

I am honored to present this page as part of I.C.O.M Online each month.

This will be a short session, but I promise to give you some remarkable and valuable effects, routines, insights, tips, idea’s and approaches in the coming months that will absolutely please you with success.

I was fortunate to be able to study with the master for quite some time and when I say it was intense, I mean it was INTENSE!

It is exciting to share this information with you. Both beginners and seasoned pros will find “The Slydini Legacy” of great value. I will share items that were known only to me and will also go through the entire effect/routine formats of the Slydini books STEP BY STEP. This will give further insight, I believe, and add many ideas, tips and thoughts that were given to me while studying in person.

I am able to refer to literally hundreds of notes and many hours of audio tapes that Slydini was so gracious to to allow me to acquire. At first, he didn’t want any record of the sessions on tape and only allowed taping of patter for various effects and routines. I cheated a bit and used to keep the recorder running so I could remember more later on. He found out about that and at first wasn’t very happy, but he knew I was about as enthusiastic a student as he could have and mentioned to me that it would be alright to tape future lessons in their entirety. Needless to say, I was very happy and appreciative about that. To my knowledge that was the first and beginning of Slydini allowing any students to tape sessions on audio tape. Video tapes were never allowed. I asked him about it and he felt it would cheapen the quality and lesson the value to his personal students. Slydini had a very close relationship to his students he felt were sincere and eager to really learn his magic. He gave up huge sums of money from video tapes just because of his respect and concern for his students. Typical Slydini.

I will be covering many things in this monthly segment of I.C.O.M Online. Many times I have been approached to disclose this material in books or on tape but never felt it proper to do so. With the many disclosures of material by some past students, as well as the supposed “fictitious” disclosures by some Slydini “wanna-be’s” (not to mention names), I felt the time would be right for this undertaking, and also feel that if Slydini knew, he would probably give me his blessing.

So, this begins what I hope will be a major source of information and enjoyment for you as students of the International Conservatory of Magic. I ask you to refrain from letting this material out. Slydini used to tell me, as I’m sure his other students, to keep the information secret because others aren’t of the same interest level and also the value is diminished to you when the secrets are given away (NOTE SECRECY RULES GIVEN UPON ENTERING THE INNER SANCTUM OF THE CONSERVATORY). This is just common sense anyway, so enough about that.

Naturally any questions about The Slydini Legacy will be handled the same as other member services…e-mail…chats…etc. So don’t be afraid to ask. Slydini was astonished at the number of questions I always asked him. He used to call me the “Question Man” ( a title I accepted with pride), so the least I can do is be willing to answer any question I can.

I will attempt to make this monthly page as comprehensive as I can so don’t look for quick tricks and collections of vague and incomplete items. As I said, this opportunity is a long time coming so I plan to take my time and go over everything the proper way.

My thanks to my co-director, Bobby J. Gallo, for his enthusiasm and support and I own him and you, as serious students of the ART of magic, the best I can do with regards to this undertaking. It is an honor and privilege to begin my version of “The Slydini Legacy”.

April 1998

Bobby J. Gallo

What in the world is Bobby J. Gallo doing writing a piece for the Slydini Legacy? Well Folks, while it is true that I have never had the opportunity to study, or for that matter, even “meet” Slydini, I have always been fascinated by his work. Slydini had a bold, yet subtle approach that has rarely if ever been duplicated by other magicians. Even those who profess to have been students of Slydini, all seem to be cookie-cutter cutouts of each other and in reality all seem to be more vernon-esque than Slydini emulators. To my experience, only Bill Wisch has ever come close to Slydini’s level.

Looking back at Slydini’s routines, the one that has always piqued my interest was the “Helicopter Card” To see this is truly an entertaining experience. Personally, I have only seen Slydini perform this routine vicariously through Bill Wisch at lectures he and I did in the past year. Watching Bill and the “Helicopter Card” as well as Bill’s explanation of it is always a high point of the evening.

Upon thinking and then experimenting with the “Helicopter Card” myself, I did what I naturally do WITH ALL of my magic. I adapted the premise to my style of performing and developed something which is very practical for the working pro while trying to maintain the integrity of a routine that was originated by the greatest close-up magician of all time…Tony Slydini.

The original complete routine of the “Helicopter Card” is very long to explain and contains numerous moves. Bill may wish (no pun intended) to dissect the original routine in the future, but for this lesson I am going to Give you MY VERSION of the classic “Helicopter Card”. Though it can never compete with the original, It DOES work for most situations and has the added feature of being slightly more angle-proof than the original. For those wishing to see the complete routine, I refer them to “THE BEST OF SLYDINI AND MORE” BY KARL FULVES Pgs, 75-78. If copies are not available, they can be obtained through the I.C.O.M Online Catalog. They are a bit expensive, but are the best investment you could ever make in your magical career outside of your I.C.O.M membership.

The magician has a card selected from a half of the deck of cards that is held in a fan “I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery Fig#. 28, 29, & 30. and has the spectator show it to the audience. It is returned to the fan and again shown to the audience to prove that it is still there. It is then pushed all the way into the fan and the deck is cut several times.

Performer then asks the audience where the card is. They naturally say that it is in the half of the deck that the magician is holding. The magician then asks if they are sure that it is not on the table and then has the spectator check cards that the magician randomly selects on the table. When the spectators are finally at their wits end. The magician makes a whirling motion with his finger similar to a helicopter and points to a spot on the table. When the card at that spot is checked, it is the selected card. A transposition like no other!

I first performed this routine for my magic class students in my summer camp series. It not only blew them away, but is was extremely entertaining. The reason for this is because as I was performing it, I told them about Slydini and then proceeded to act like an old Italian Magician as I went through the routine! This is easy for me because that is exactly what I will be some day, “God willing!”

After the card is selected and returned to the half deck-fan that you are holding, Push the card all the way in maintaining a break using a Fan Control. “I.C.O.M Sleight-of Hand Gallery Fig#. 50-51.”

Perform a Double Under-Cut, which is done by cutting half of the bottom portion of the deck to the top, followed by the remainder of the bottom portion. This brings the selected card to the top of the deck.

Now, as you are pattering to the spectators, Palm off the top selected card and casually lap it. I.C.O.M Sleight-of-Hand Gallery Fig#. 35-36.

Leave the card on your lap as you go through the motions of having the spectator check nearly all the cards on the table for the selection. Just when you think they have had enough, go to the lap and re-palm the card. Bring the hand up keeping the palmed card hidden and make a whirling motion with your fingers. Bring the hand down slapping the card onto the table. Lift your hand and have the spectator reveal the card.

The part of this routine that need the most rehearsal is acting like an old Italian Magician!

Slydini Legacy – May 1998

Bill Wisch

Slydini was never big on “show-off” moves or “finger-flinging” in general.
He designed everything he did to be economical in motion and simplistic in execution. Due to his razor sharp deftness while carrying out necessary moves in an effect or routine, I believe he would have been one of the world’s premier manipulators if he had chosen to go that way.  He did what he had to do to get the job done…if it meant an extremely difficult sleight then that’s what he created, mastered and used. But his simple, subtle gems of execution are what most magicians fell in love with when he performed them and then disclosed them at a lecture.
This subtle card mixing action is one of his simplest and yet most convincing. Also, anyone, at any level can do this, so you beginners can add this to your arsenal ASAP. And I can attest to the fact that it also works very well for the experienced performer in situations that are suitable…it is totally believable.
Consider this:
You spread out a deck of cards on a table top and proceed to mix them around like a tossed salad (not quite “tossing” the cards but mixing them vigorously and completely). The spectator can even help you mix them! When you’re done (and you can go as long as you want) you pick up the cards and assemble them together squaring them up. A known or force card will be at the top or bottom of the deck…or at any position you choose!
Believe me…I saw him do this quite a few times and the impression on the spectators is that there is no way any cards did not get totally mixed. It’s about as fair and dramatic (remember you’re an actor playing the part of a magician) a way to convince an audience that a bunch of cards are totally shuffled. Preceding any card discovery or force it is unsurpassed.
Let’s say you know the top card of the deck (could just as well be bottom) for a force or just to keep track of as needed.
As you sprawl the cards onto the table, face down, keep you eye on the card. Now whenever you mix you first place the tip
of the right little finger on top of the card. That’s it! As long as you keep contact of the card, whether it’s on top or somewhere in the middle of the mess of cards being mixed, you will not lose track of it. Try it! It’s an awesome way to keep track of a card under literally impossible conditions. There’s no way the audience can see you’re trying to control a card because the card goes in and out of view…besides they’re not even looking for such a thing at this point.
Naturally, when you’re done mixing you just sight the card once again. Now when you assemble the deck you just make sure this card goes where you want it to go…on top, bottom…so many from the top, or whatever.
I am sure some of you will experiment with this and try to embellish it using more than one card or both hands for two cards or something else but I have tried it and it doesn’t seem to be nonchalant unless you just focus on one card only. Slydini used it just the way I described.
This strategy can be used for any number of effects. It fills time…convinces the audience and, most of all, is easy so you can concentrate on the mixing instead of the card. It’s typical Slydini (he was one sly dude!).
 A beauty coming next month!  

Slydini Legacy-June 1998

“Ridiculous Red/Black”
Written by Bill Wisch

I call this “ridiculous” because it literally mystifies EVERYONE that sees it. That’s ridiculous!  It doesn’t matter how advanced…how knowledgeable…how ANYTHING!  It is probably the ONE effect I can bank on to literally FRY a crowd of magicians (or laypeople) every single time…I know because out of the last ten years of lectures (about 100) I’ve performed this (after the lecture because I never exposed it) and EVERYONE “freaks out”!  And…it’s ridiculously easy to do!
It’s time to give it to you Slydini “Legacarians”. Some will try it…some will use it…some will kill with it…some will never try it. Each of you reading this fits into one of those categories. Just don’t explain it or give it away. The “Slydini Curse” will heap unmerciful wrath upon you and your digits for the remainder of your years if you breathe a word of how this is done to anyone ( I can because you’re paying I.C.O.M. Online to teach you only the finest of the fine, and that’s what we do!).

Well, here is the best…it doesn’t get any better

You openly separate the red and black cards. You turn the cards face down and table shuffle the red cards into the black cards.
You square up the deck, turn it face up and spread it out. The red cards are together and the blacks are together. None of the cards have been mixed!!!  And…you can repeat it any number of times!
None before the effect begins. I usually just go through a deck and openly cull the reds and blacks, separating them into two face up stacks. Then I assemble the deck and do a table spread, face up, to show the fact that all the reds are separate from the blacks. There’s no rush and you’re not doing anything sneaky so take your time.
I’ll mention some patter ideas later but right now just follow the handling.
Assemble the deck and turn it over, face down, on the table. The reds or blacks are on top…it doesn’t matter which. But all the reds are together and all the blacks are together.
The hands carefully square up the deck and the right hand appears to cut the top half of the deck to the right and table it.

What actually happens is that the right hand cuts the “center half” to the right. Let me explain…if you consider the top quarter of the deck added to the bottom quarter of the deck as a half deck,  then the “center half” would be all the cards below the top quarter and above the bottom quarter…in other words, cards #14 down to and including card #39 of the deck.
The left thumb holds back the top and bottom quarters while the center half goes to the right…that’s it! (Note: if a few cards of either color stay with the other half there’s absolutely no harm done. It will get straightened out automatically when you shuffle the halves together).
Now when you shuffle the two halves together you’re actually shuffling the reds into the reds and the blacks into the blacks. YOU ACTUALLY DO SHUFFLE THE CARDS but you just keep them in the same color sequence!
There are several subtleties added to complete the illusion. First of all, when you shuffle the two halves together you must “eyeball” the colors as they’re being shuffled. This is easy if you peer into the shuffle as if to make sure they’re being shuffled evenly (this was Slydini’s strategy). Just make sure that you stop letting cards go from the thumb when the color changes of that half, to allow for the rest of the similar color cards to drop from the other half until the color changes also.
Now carefully and slowly square up the cards into a deck. Turn the cards over and ribbon spread. The cards are separated red and black instead of being hopelessly mixed!
There have been a number of red/black shuffles using the same center-half method down through the years, but none I’ve seen compare with Slydini’s handling using his slow, methodical presentation. If the cards are shuffled in the hands it doesn’t seem to be as powerful and there is a certain amount of “extra motion” to get the center half over to the opposite hand.
There are three major things that make this the true miracle it is.
1) All the dirty work takes place during the initial cut at which time no attention is usually placed on the deck. If someone is “burning” your hands at the time you’re ready to strip-cut the center half, just look up and ask them a question, like, “Do you play cards?” or, “Have you been watching me closely?”. Just at the instant the spectator looks at your eyes you strip out the cards and it’s done. The rest is showbiz. 

2) The spectators are looking intently for any kind of move or action while you’re shuffling or squaring the halves together…nothing happens.

3) When the cards are ribbon-spread face up at the end, no one notices that the cards REALLY ARE SHUFFLED despite being separated color-wise and they assume if the colors are separate the cards must be in the same order. No one has EVER called me on this. Is that cool!
A nice strategy Slydini used while doing this was to pretend he was going to do a “push-through, strip-out” move which most educated magicians or gamblers know can be done. Just at the moment he would normally cover the deck and do the “strip-out” move, he just simply and openly pushed the cards together without any cover at all with a defiant and sheepish look on his face! Talk about leaving them with their mouths hanging open!

Then you turn over the deck and show the colors separate?! You have to see the reaction to believe it.
I have had a number of TOP magicians tell me after I’ve done this that they never saw a better false shuffle in their lives. Needless to say I never argued with them (or showed them how it was done no matter how much they begged…and, believe me,  they DID beg). Is that fun!
I usually patter about having one thing I do that fools all the dealers in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. You don’t have to say very nuch, in fact, a little goes a long way in this effect. Ater they witness what you’ve done several times, they tend to agree that you are unbelievable when it comes to handling a deck of cards.
Another way I use this shuffle is before Out Of This World, by Paul Curry. Think about it. I separate the colors. Openly shuffle the two halves together and then begin the effect. They SEE the cards shuffled! Naturally, I don’t expose the fact that the colors stay separate, and I certainly can’t perform the regular red/black miracle with the same audience, but it’s mega powerful doing it as a shuffle for OOTW.
What a scam! Where else can you get such credit for something you can’t do. That’s one of the major benefits of performing magic. The audience tends to credit you with all sorts of skill you really couldn’t ever do. Fun, fun, fun!
Another killer in July!


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 copywrite 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.

I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 4/98-6/98


I.C.O.M Online Spotlight 4/98-6/98

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

April 1998

I.C.O.M Online is proud to introduce the following new series of articles by Ron Dayton. The following installment is worth your undivided attention. It is a true lesson in magic.

Ronald J. Dayton
Several suggested roads of travel toward an elusive goal.



I have mentioned several sources for creative inspiration. One of my favorites is the magic catalog. If you can get your hands on older catalogs as well as more current ones, you may be able to discover not only useful information, but trends and cycles as well. It seems that effects in magic go in stages. One year, ring and lace effects may be all the rage, the next, diminishing card cases and the following year, movable holes are the latest thing. You see the same thing happen in the motion picture industry. They go from sci-fi to war films, to comedy to prison flicks. The movie goers tire of certain movies and demand something new. It’s the same in magic. So, the catalogs may well not only point you toward a new effect, they may well indicate which type of effect will be coming into vogue.

When paging through your magic catalog, allow your mind to roam. Go from close-up to stage effects, silks to coins, paper to rope. An unrestricted mind will soon begin to form mental links. random unions will be made. An overlapping of thoughts will help you to break away from more stringent lines of thinking. This will work in a similar way to the lists suggested earlier. It will assist your mind in rejecting certain patterns of thought. Seemingly unrelated effects will suddenly begin to merge. It’s a useful method to exercise your mind.


Another nifty way to think in an inventive manner is not to think about it at all! That’s right. Walk away from it for a while. When you are relaxed, and not under the direct pressure of ‘having’ to invent something, ideas seem to pop up at the most unexpected times. I should be embarrassed to say this, but I’m not really, that many of my best ideas have come to me while I was at my place of employment. Here again, when ever an idea came to me, it was quickly jotted down. Too many good ideas have been lost simply because they were not acted upon promptly.

You may also choose to stimulate your thinking by thinking in a new location, or change of atmosphere. Like a creative writer, you may need to get away from the norm. Select new surroundings in which to work and concentrate. Music may be used to set the mood as well as lighting. Make the experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.


Experience has proven time and time again that ideas are exactly that, just IDEAS. All the brainstorming in the world will not prove conclusively that something WILL work. Many things look great on paper but won’t get off the ground in the real world. When the time comes, in many instances, you will need a proto-type.

A number of years ago I developed an idea for a new version of cigarette through half dollar. I contacted a manufacturer of magic coins, and after some study, it was determined that the project would be far too costly. Special compound dies would be required, special tooling. The costs were too high to justify the variation. Three years later, an alternate design became evident to me. But once again, no ‘proof’ of its credibility was available. The design was much easier and cost effective to produce. To make a long story short, The Dayton Ultimate Cigarette Thru Half was eventually born. It is the only mechanical coin ever made which could be shown both sides, before, DURING and after the penetration. An idea, with perserverance, went from the mind, to paper to reality.

When you stick with a project, and it comes to fruition, there is no better feeling of satisfaction. The feeling is awesome.


There is one last phase I would like to touch on in regards to your own personal preparation for creativity, and that is the subject of reading material. I suggest the following:

The Tarbell Course in Magic, Vol. 1-7……………………………………… Tannens

The Phoenix & New Phoenix………………………………………………….. Tannens

Thayer Quality Magic; Vol. 1-4…………………………………………………Magic Limited

The Jinx.. ………………………………………………………………………………Tannens

Harbincadabra………………………………………………………………………. Goodliffe

Rices Encyclopedia of Silk Magic, Vol 1-3…………………………………. Rice

The Encyclopedia of Rope Tricks1 Vol 1-3………………………………… Abbotts

JackHughesWorld of MagicVol. 1………………………………………………Hughes

Encyclopedia of Dove Magic, Vol 1-4…………………………………………Supreme

The Lewis Trilogy
A Choice of Miracles
A Continuation of Miracles……………………………………………………Magical Publications
The Crowning Miracles

The New Modern Coin Magic…………………………………………………..Magic Inc.


The Magic of Pavel………………………………………………………………….Supreme

Darwin’s Thumb Tip Miracles…………………………………………………… Rare Publishing

The Illustrated History of Magic………………………………………………….Crowell

Suspensions and Levitations……………………………………………………… Hades

The Fitzkee Trilogy
Showmanship For Magicians………………………………………………… Magic Limited
The Trick Brain
Magic By Misdirection

All publications by Karl Fulves……………………………………………………Karl Fulves/Dover Press

Success and Magic…………………………………………………………………..Secret Service/Michael Ammar


It is important to make ourselves as aware as possible to new advances in technology, science and electronics, as well as new product releases. Reading publications such as Popular Science and Popular Mechanics may serve you well. Look at items carefully while browsing through your local variety store. Toy stores are also fabulous places to wander. Keep your eyes peeled when those catalogs come in the mail from such places as Spencers Gifts or the Electronic Goldmine. They often contain novel items which the wide awake magician can put to use. Look beyond the original use and try to visualize another form and function. It will often be worth your while if you do.

In the concluding words to one of my books I said: ” Think of an effect my friend. It CAN be done!” Well, needless to say, that raised more than a few eyebrows. Some reviewers felt it was far too broad a statement to make. But think about it. Go back to the concept that THE IMPOSSIBLE IS THAT WHICH IS YET UNTRIED. If you defeat yourself before you begin, naturally you will fail. Make a dedicated attempt at creativity. If the first attempt dosen’t work out, try again! Hang on to all your notes concerning ideas and methods. Perhaps in a year, or five.. .or more, the correct solution will come to light. Above all, maintain your dreams. They too may become reality.

Even the person who is NOT directly involved in the performance or production of magic can assist in its growth and well being. If you choose only to be a magic enthusiast, or a collector, you will be doing your part. You act as a catalyst. Your support and zeal motivate others. Like any part of the whole, your importance is immeasurable.

” Think of an effect my friend. It CAN be done!”

Co-Directors Note: The International Conservatory Of Magic is grateful to Ronald J. Dayton for this fantastic work that has run since the beginning of our Internet endeavor. For those wishing to read “Creativity” in its entirety, it will be enshrined in the ICOM Online Library as a Cyber-Textbook ™ It should be read, re-read, and read again. This IS magical education at its best, and that is why we are all here…….

I.C.O.M Online is extremely proud to present a world exclusive!

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part VII April 1998


Not only is “SEEING IS BELIEVING” so, but, so too, is BELIEVING IS BELIEVEMENT. If the magician believes that magic is actually happening before his own eyes, so too, will the audience experience belief.

FLASHBACK AND FORESHADOW inform the audience about that which has already happened and that which is yet to come, in a drama. STYLE is the outcome of skills acquired through study and imitation, but personalized through the originality of the performer. STYLE is the personal stamp of the artist. The distinctive style of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet sets him apart from all other trumpet players. His style would be recognized in a crowd.

TONE is a function of psychological distance between the performer and the audience. The closer to the audience, the more casual; the more distant from the audience, the more formal will the performer appear.. Distance is not a reference to feet or yards, but might better be explained, as exemplified by comparing the casual tone achieved by Carl Ballentine, the comedic magician, and Joseph Dunninger, the dignified and aloof mentalist. A seated speech delivery, placing the speaker on the same level with the audience, tends to seem casual; a standing speech delivery which places the speaker on a level above the audience, tends to seem formal.

MOOD is the psychological ambiance of a performance, and is both intellectually and emotionally underpinned. A performance may be serious or frivilous in mood; or light hearted or melancholic in mood: the ALLEGRO or PENSEROSO of the stage, if you will. BUILDS: The peaks and valleys of art require both CRESCENDO and DECRESCENDO. A work of art cannot be sustained at a constant climactic pitch. Stillness is as important as motion; silence as important as sound; deccelleration as important as accelleration; and PIANO as important as FORTE. Art is the consequence of nuance not noise; subtlety not grossness. Decrescendo makes crescendo possible



For television appearances in the nonformal performance mode (Guest Shots), magicians should wear a light blue broadcloth shirt which does not reflect light up into the face as severely as does a white shirt. The best color choice in a tie is red which draws the audience attention, casts a soft blush on the face, and provides a color point of reference for the lighting technician. A dark suit should be worn, as flattering to the physique. Black absorbs light, making the body appear slimmer; white reflects light, making the body appear larger and heavier. The television camera is said to add about fifteen pounds to the physique. Of course, an overly thin performer might want to reverse the color formula, in order to add pounds. Dr. OM does not have this problem. Straight pancake makeup in a tone matching the natural skin tone of the performer, or a more deireable tone (e.g: tan, if the performer is excessively pale), should be applied, in order to avoid the Nixon-Kennedy syndrome.

For formal televised performance, the same principles apply and care should be taken with choice of costume components and application of pancake make-up, rouge, lip rouge, eye shadow, and eye liner. When applying make-up, the whole face, neck, and ears should be made up, in order to avoid the masklike look of a tan face and white throat and ears. Costume choices are personal to the PERSONA, as has been previously discussed, but should consider the affects of lighting.


After viewing the President’s State of the Union address on television, Dr. OM remained tuned in to witness the Republican response by Senator Trent Lot. Surfing from channel to channel, among those covering the response, Dr. OM noticed that, on channel 02 Senator Lot’s face bore a yellowish tint; on 04, a flesh pink tint; on 05 a violet tint; on 08 a yellowish tint; on 12, a violet- white tint; and on 24, a blueish- white tint: same subject; different lighting. A performer cannot overestimate the importance of lighting. Senator Lot looked best on channel 04, under flesh pink lighting which lent him a healthy and robust appearance.

THE PRINCIPLE PURPOSE OF LIGHTING is to make persons and objects visible on stage, however each directional throw produces adverse affects of washing out the facial features or casting undesireable shadows when used exclusively. Proper balance of multidirectional lighting eliminates adverse affects, provides visibility, and enhances mood. Lighting is of five kinds, dependent upon location: 1) FRONT LIGHTING; 2) BACK LIGHTING; 3) OVERHEAD LIGHTING; 4) SIDE LIGHTING; and 5) BOTTOM LIGHTING upward cast from footlights.

FRONT LIGHTING washes out the facial features, if employed unilaterally, and, always, even when employed in conjunction with other directional lighting, requires the use of stage make-up.

FRONT LIGHTING is horizontally rigged on pipes attached to the ceiling of the HOUSE (audience seating space) over the heads of the audience and beyond the APRON (front edge) of the stage. FRONT-SIDE LIGHTING is vertically rigged on pipes anchored to the walls at both sides of the stage apron.

FOOTLIGHTS: Dr. OM regrets that modern stages have tended to eliminate footlights which cast an upward and frontal illumination on the performer and provide a rather story book framing of the apron.

BACK LIGHTING is used to illuminate or decorate the back wall and upstage areas, or to light a SCRIM cloth (cheese-cloth-like white backdrop), or CYCLORAMA (bedsheet-like backdrop) from behind to enhance the setting with the special effect of a background of blue sky or other color impression. In the old days of stage and vauldville scenically painted backdrops provided background and were illuminated by front and side lighting. There are still appropriate uses for the backdrop of old.

SIDE LIGHTING illuminates the right and left sides of three dimensional objects and actors on stage, making their three dimensionality apparent to the audience. Side lighting is usually rigged vertically on pipe poles weighted to the floor on cast iron bases or on heavy dollys.

OVERHEAD LIGHTING is horizontally rigged to pipes hung in the FLYS over the stage proper, and are aimed downward at varying light balancing angles to produce a diffused light through which the actors walk. Because the light comes from above, shadows are cast downward by the facial brow and nose. OVERHEAD and FRONT lighting should be balanced such that neither does the front lighting wash out the facial features, nor does the overhead lighting cast too much shadow on the face. The setting of lights is indeed an art in itself, even for the sole objective of providing visibility, without the aesthetic purposes of providing mood or special effects. Balancing the lights may be thought of as analogous to painting in oil or water colors.

THE FOLLOW SPOT focuses attention upon the performer by providing an intimate isolation. When no other theatrical lighting is available, a follow spot is invaluable.When even a follow spot, which rotates on an axis upward and downward and to right and left allowing the illumination to follow the movement of the actor, is not available, a stationary spotlight or baby spot, set at the proper distance from the performer, may somewhat serve the purpose, if properly intensified and dimmed by means of a rheostat.

DIMMING CONTROL BOARDS OR CONSOLES in varying degrees of sophistication and complexity are provided with rheostats which allow the intensifying or dimming of individual lamps, as well as all of the lamps or batteries of lamps at the same time and to bring up and down the house lights and the stage lights.

RIGGINGS vary in sophistication from theatrical site to theatrical site. In some venues, riggings can be lowered for LANTERN (LAMP) mounting. Usually, the lanterns are set, under the direction of the theatrical and/or art director, by the lighting technician or a stage hand atop a platform at the top of a ladder on a dolly which is termed a CHERRYPICKER, in order to fine tune the lantern angle settings and fine positions on the pipe riggings. In unsophisticated theatrical sites a cherrypicker is used to mount lamps on stationary overhead pipes, and free standing vertical pipes on heavy bases are used for front and side lighting. In the most sophisticated venues everything is electronically automated and computerised. Expect anything from OUR GANG to SPIELBERG and you will be somewhat prepared. In non-theatrical venues, only found natural or artificial house lighting exists, unless you carry along your own equipment and curtains. Lighting has the potential to establish mood, therefore, illumination facillitates the audiences ability to FEEL as well as SEE. As with all other components of theatre, lighting is inextricably, by presence or absence, a part of setting, characterization, action, and plot.

FLOOD LIGHTS are used for general diffuse lighting. Care must be taken that flood lights do not SPILL (spread) to areas where no lighting is wanted.

SPOT LIGHTS throw a concentrated almost hard edged beam of light upon a desired objective.

COLORED GELS contained in GEL FRAMES are slipped into slots on lamp fronts to tint and mix the colors of the light. The most usual colors are: red, yellow, blue, green, purple, violet, and flesh pink.


Corson, Richard. STAGE MAKEUP. Appleton-Century, Crofts. New York, 1967.

Parker, W. Oren and Harvey K. Smith. SCENE DESIGN AND STAGE LIGHTING. Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, Inc. New York, 1968.

May 1998

Dr. OM’s Treatise on Showmanship and Stagecraft for the Performing Magician Part VIII

ELLIPSOIDAL (LEKOLITE): A four shuttered reflector spotlight for hard edged rectangular or oblique beam shaping

FRESNEL (THE FRESNELITE): A fifteen degree spot focus and forty-five degree flood focus, dual purpose lamp; used primarily as a spotlight in conjunction with the KLIEG floodlight

KLIEG (KLIEGLITE): A general purpose flood light casting a soft edged diffuse spread of light

LINNEBACH PROJECTOR: Used to back project upon an entire blank backdrop, thereby providing scenic pictures in light, in a kind of magic lantern manner.

RULE OF THUMB: The least degree of general floodlight settings allowing the audience to see the action on the stage is best. Spolight mood establishment is enhanced when not too much general lighting is employed and the audience is not disturbed by excessive glare reflected by actors and objects on stage.

“At the end of every illusion is reality.” (“Eternally Yours,” Starring David Niven)

Directors Bill Wisch and Bobby J. Gallo have graciosly asked Dr. Om to write an article answering the question: “Why I love Magic.” Their question opens a floodgate that could wash up an endless series of articles, because any honest answer must deal with matters so psychologically complex that no brief response can adequately serve the purpose.

DR. OM LOVES MAGIC BECAUSE he cannot stand the real world, at least, not exclusively; not without the relief of beloved illusions, alternatives to reality, provided by art. Rather than addressing the question in terms of the magical arts alone, Art in general, yet, especially the magical arts, will serve as the source of Dr. OM’s response. where helpful, extrapolations will be made from the other arts to the art of magic.


Life without a dream would be quite grim; evidence: the daily news of all too real happenings in the all too real world. Life without a dream would be quite humdrum; evidence: the leaden-eyed drudgery most workers experience in earning their daily bread. Truly, only work experienced as play is worth doing. Think of the way work was experienced by great contributors such as Michaelangelo, Einstein, and Mozart, to mention a significant few. To them, their work and play were synonymous.

Henry David Thoreau wrote: “Most men live out their lives in a quiet desperation.” The same quiet desperation provided the drive which sent Sir Galahad and Don quixote on their quests. The former, in search of The Holy Grail, the latter in search of his imaginedly beautiful Dulcinea (she unfortuneately proved to be anything but beautiful when he found her in reality, except in his own eyes, alone).

Dante combined the two great quests: the quest after God (his Holy Grall) and the quest after an idealized woman (his Dulcinea). Beatrice is, of course, Dante’s muse, who tells him: “You may write poetry, only through loving me; and you may love me, only through writing poetry. Every artist is so driven by his muse.

Robert Graves, the great mythologist and poet, claimed that the muse, whom he called the White Goddess, appears somewhere in every poem. Perhaps so. Samuel Taylor Coleridge had her appear in the following lines from his poem: “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:”

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
Who thicks man’s blood with cold.

She is the muse of two faces, however, as the poet Oscar Williams describes her in his poem:


This is what we really want Who drink the kingdom of the heart

She is flowering in a doorway
Eyes cheeks haze of hair
Stepping out of time into here

This is what we really have who see the one we adore becoming
The two that she is in the light

Ah God bounces all the waters
From hand to jubilant hand
He cannot contain Himself

But comes over into being
With benediction of painted cloud
The being to look at is to become

By fiat of adoration do we reach
The very muscle of miracle
The ease with which beauty is beauty

Sheer poetry; sheer magic; and as mystical as The Egyptian Book of the Dead or The Book of Job, is this great poem written by Dr. OM’s vanished dear friend and mentor, Oscar Williams.

Dr. Om has his muse appear in two distinctiy antithetical forms:
the double sided coin of womanhood; picking up, perhaps, where Homer left off with the witch, Circe, and the lovely young girl, Odysseus had to leave behind, Calypso.


Circe’s smile surrounds me, dimensional with spangles, tantalizing as cymbols.

Kissing Circe’s white throat; into sun world’s of flashes, light from blonde lashes,

into halls of glasses, each one reflecting Circe1s face;

is falling out of dream, screalning, hands out, from above, into cold,. rushing waters of no love.


Yes, Penelope is waiting and there are still adventures enough in store:
profits and losses in emotions; and a son still lying in the ploughshares path.

Once again, no doubt, a Cyclops or two will rear his ugly head
over fading palisades and Circe will turn us all into swine again.

Tomorrow morning Rosy may finger the Dawn or Phoebus forget to rise, altogether.

There are battles, too, the ringing swords and shields of distant wars
and black coughs of death

A king must follow his kingdom his honor
his duty and yet

Should you call to me from the shoreline Calypso, lovely girl could I leave you on your island could I leave you there alone?

Thus, the muse drives the artist. To be in love with illusion, is to be in love with our kind of magic, whereby we are transported to another realm where everything is true and beautiful and good, and everything is possible. Besides, old magician’s never die, they just disappear.

Getting back to the matter of Thoureau’s “quiet despration,” all humans feel that eternal discontent, that yearning in the breast. In youth, we feel that the yearning can be satisfied by romance, only to discover a bit sadly that it is not so. In middle life, the quest to satisfy the ache seeks after power; to be able to say: I have (so many) working under me. As age advances, the false security of money is sought after, to quell that unidentifiable desire. Money, too, proves not to be the answer. We have known these truths since time immemorial: Tantalus, Midas, Hamlet, and Macbeth.

The mystic tells us that the yearning is that of the spirit imprisoned in the body wanting to be free to return to the world soul; to become one with God. So say, too, the Bible, The Eqyptian Book of the Dead, The Bhagavadgita, The Koran, and all the great benevolent religious works. As William Butler Yeats put it in this excerpt from his poem “Sailing to Byzantium:”

Consume my heart away; sick with desire
And fastened to a dying animal
It knows not what it is; and gather me
Into the artifice of eternity.

or as the Persian poet, Omar Khayyam, more wishfully expressed in his poem “The Rubaiyat’:

Ah, Beloved, but could you and I with God conspire
to take the plan of things entire to shatter it to bits
and then remould it closer to the heart’s desire.

Does not Omar express that which every magician desires and attempts to do?

Omar was court poet, astronomer, astrologer, mathematician, and magician. By this time, the reader realizes that poets are magicians, as are all artists. Art is illusion. The magician is an artist.

It is no accident that all the great religious works are expressed in poetry and magic. Only art, especially the magical arts, and all the arts are magical, can provide us with relief from the driving yearning of the heart. Art enables us to exist at the highest pitch of being in love, which both elates and tranquilizes our physical existences; elevating us, momentarily, at least, out of existence into a state of BEING, a mystic Nirvana, if you will.

To become immersed in a musical composition, to enter into a painting, to embrace a sculpture with the eyes, to be enmeshed in the plot of a play, to experience the whirling, akin to flying, of dance, and certainly to witness a miracle of illusion, is to transcend for a moment, the unpleasant and the ordinary; to replace ugliness with beauty; to displace the pedestrian with the sublime.

The three great themes of all the other arts, the art of magic, and religion, each imply an antithetical (opposite) wish, as did Omar. The first great theme is: THE INEVITABILITY OF DEATH; its antithesis is:

THE HOPE FOR IMMORTALITY. The second great theme is: THE INEVITABILITY OF CHANGE; its antitheses are: THE WISH FOR IMMUTABILITY (unchangingness) and THE WISH FOR DESIRABLE CHANGE. As Wallace Stevens asserted, in his poem, THE MAN WITH THE BLUE GUITAR: “Things as they are, Are changed upon the blue guitar.” The third great theme is: THE INEVITABILITY OF LONELINESS; its antithisis is: THE HOPE FOR LOVE. When you can find the time, take pen and paper in hand and jot down all of the great magical illusions you know of, those, especially, which have made history, and observe that they each address at least one of the great themes of art.

The performing arts are temporal, they exist only in time, and once a performance is over, even if recorded, by whatever means, it is gone forever. Perhaps, the greatest love is the love of the performing artist who sends his art up in a puff of smoke, as did Rodolfo, in Puccini’s opera LA BOEME; Rodolfo, who burned his poems one by one, to keep his friends warm in their cold artist’s garret. No recording can replicate the art of a live performance and its interaction with an audience.

In the magical art, per se, to observe that inventive genius should be passionately devoted solely to produce a mysteriously entertaining illusion, is fascinating, in and of itself; however the illusion is accomplished, whether by manipulative skill, gaff, or gimmick.

The poetry of the art of magic is the illusion provided for the audience, not the technique whereby it is achieved. The same passion and devotion as is infused in a poem, a musical composition, or the visual pleasures of dance are essential to producing a work of true magical art. The great innovative dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham once said: “GREAT DANCERS ARE NOT GREAT BECAUSE OF THEIR TECHNIQUE; THEY ARE GREAT BECAUSE OF THEIR PASSION.” Of course, the freedom of passion presumes technique, but technique, alone, is not enough; is not art.

Artists of all sorts are driven by a compulsion to compose that which will please the senses and the sensibillties; their own and their audiences’. They do so in worshipful imltation of the Creator, the Artist of the Cosmos. The art experience and the mystical experience are one and the same. What is more, the mystical is manifestly expressible only through art. The magician is the artist of theatrical illusion; his work of art IS illusion.

All art, and no less the art of magic, provides a temporary respite, relief, rest from pressing reality. The romance of Nature is not Nature. Nature, including man and the acts of man, is quite ferocious. Ferocity is illusionistically removed from the lovely Romantic landscape painting, but in Nature, no matter how beautiful the real landscape may be, if the viewer looks closely enough, predatory ferocity is present.

Art, and especially the illusions of magic, elevates us, changes that which each of us knows to be all too real, and enables us the better to come to terms with the real, because we have, for a time, no matter how briefly, transcended the real world; we have for a moment flown with the angels; we have experienced a glimpse of the spirit of man. Dr. Om is honored and humbled to be your fellow magician.

“Poetry is the art of subtantiating shadows” (Edmund Burke)


CON PASSIONE (Italian musical term) With passion. Remember the old directorial plea: “Once more, with feeling.”

Ronald J. Dayton

One of my best friends in all the world of magic, and for that matter, all the world ( Bill Wisch ), asked if I would consider doing a piece on ‘ Why I Love Magic The Way I Do.’ According to Bill, he feels I express the most joy over being involved with magic as any other person he has ever met. This is flattering, although, possibly a jaded take on the way he perceives my involvement.

From a very early age, I was attracted to the mystery of magic. The unknown/unexplained is a strong, initial catalyst. The printed word and marvelous illustrations of an era now past were like visual magnets, drawing a youngster toward this strange Mecca.

In 1954, I was nine years old. This was the Christmas which brought my very first, and only, Mysto Magic Set. What a treasure. I wish I still had it today. The coins and shells.. the tubes, rings and cards FELT magical in my hands. It was an empowering gift for a boy of nine. One which ( in his mind ), gave access to mysteries only he could master.. .knowledge only he could fully comprehend.

Of course, as time passed.. .both I and my magic grew and matured. My understanding of magic and the real value it held came to light. I found it was something which could shared. It was a multi faceted art which embraced a myriad of concepts and skills. It was a common ground enjoyed by many, which could forge new paths, and create lasting friendships where none had been before. I think this is the aspect of magic which is most important to me…and the one from which I most directly derive pleasure. It makes me feel complete to be part of something so old… so eternally young, and so lasting.

It isn’t the artists or performances which bring me the deepest joy. They are a valued keepsake in my memory, to be sure…but memories tend to fade. It can’t be the effects or methods, although I do get enormous satisfaction in creating them.. .and watching the genius of others. But ‘tricks’ are fickle things, and magicians are like impatient nomads, ready to move on at a moments notice.

Friendships are the most magical and enjoyable thing to me. They make being a part of this world of magic, worth while. They are the foundation for much of my knowledge, the inspiration to strive to be creative, and the fountain-head from which all of the other benefits of magic spring.

This is not the easiest venue in which to find true friends. But…name a venue which is. If you can count the number of genuine friendships you garner in a lifetime on the fingers of your hands, you have done very, very well. Genuine friendships truly are magical and mysterious.. .not casual in the least. They are the singular thing I value most in magic and in life. They are the reason I find joy in what I do.

Doing magic for the sake of magic can be a thankless task. Magic for the sake of friendship on the other hand, elevates the art to a higher level. The rewards may not be monetary, but they are precious beyond measure. The glow of joy it brings pales gold by comparison, riches not all are fortunate enough to find.

June 1998

I must say that after I wrote this, I truly felt a revealing sensation. It is though for the first time I am really letting people get a glimpse into my inner most thoughts concerning magic. Not even writing “Commando Magic” gave the same sense of “butterflies in the stomach” that this short piece gives me……BJG

“A World Without Hero’s”
Bobby J. Gallo

Well ladies and gents, its my turn. After some prodding by other I.C.O.M staff members, “you know who you are!” I have been asked why I love magic….. If you have not yet read Ron Dayton’s “Magic for the Sake of Magic” or Dr. Om’s reasons in his series “Stagecraft for the Performing Magician” Please do so before reading the following.

My reasons are a bit different than both Ron’s and Oscar’s. Not better,…..different. The reasons why I love magic are very esoteric. Allow me to say right off the bat that I am a natural ham. If I were not a magician, I would be performing in some other capacity. But I can confidently say that nothing else would be like magic. Magic embodies qualities that I could not find in either music or acting. What can these be, you ask? Allow me to answer this with an observation.

In my view, the world today with the exception of a few is virtually devoid of heros in classical sense. The select few exceptions I can site in my mind besides Biblical heroes of the past would be people like Mother Theresa, Jonas Salk, and America’s first Astronauts. Heros for completely different reasons to be sure, but heros nonetheless.

I do not consider sports figures heros any more than I consider a movie or television star a hero. In most cases, both are extremely talented, but no, not heroes.

There is also a whole different dimension of heroes. One that exists only in the realm of fantasy. I am talking of course about the fantastic “superheros” and fantasy characters of legend. Now, before you go and say that I have flipped my lid in thinking about these works of fiction, let me say that I know I am not alone. There are more adults reading comic books now than in any other point of history from the golden age of comics to the present, gritty, cutting-edge comics of today. Movies containing these now classic characters are some of the highest grossing and anticipated movies in Hollywood. Top stars play these characters and everyone from every walk of life go to see them. So why do I make these points in an article devoted to magic? OK, I’ll tell you, but allow me “one more” release of my inner workings…

I have always wondered what the world would be like if these “superheros” really existed. How would people react to them? How many people really fantasize about how much better the world would be if there really were a Superman or “MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN”. Well then, why stop there? What would it feel like to ACTUALLY BE A MANDRAKE? Want to find out??? It’s possible…

Become a Magician.
Not a trickster, but a real magician. And by that I am talking not about the person who knows a zillion tricks, but a person who has the MENTALITY of a magician. By doing this, and only in the art of magic do I feel this is possible in the performing arts, can we so closely bring a mythic figure to life.

I have always thought that deep down all magicians really want to be MERLIN. I think that deep down all of us would love to REALLY be able to perform magic….Real magic. You may disagree, but nonetheless I think I am correct in my assumptions. Well, unless people in certain “Wiccan” religions are able to perform real “MAGICK” (no, that is not spelled wrong) to my knowledge, it cannot be done. There is only “ONE” who can do the impossible. And as an old magician saying goes, “I do tricks…HE does miracles”. But we CAN do the next best thing. We can bring fantasy to life. We CAN create magic, if only in the minds of men.

If you heard my rantings in the best selling audio tape “Ultimate Magic Rap Vol.#1”, you would have heard my comments that I think there is nothing more wonderful than having the “Image” of being a magician. When we do what we do correctly, we take on a larger than life persona. Yes, we become that superhero of legend. I feel the reason for this is because “we” are not the only ones that secretly fantasize about being empowered with mystical knowledge, but also the general public. They WANT and in some cases, NEED to believe in us as the purveyors of wonder we are.

This is what makes recent exposures of magic on national television so devastating to the art and to the psyche of the lay public. These networks are literally ruining “both” our images, and the fantasy of those who wish to believe, even if they know that the belief is only fantasy.

So why do I love magic? It is a chance to fufill dreams and maybe, just maybe, make the world a better place by reaching beyond the limitations we have as human beings. Tapping into whatever we can access of our immortal spirit.

Bobby J. Gallo


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