OFFICIAL I.C.O.M PAST LESSON ARCHIVE
Advanced Lab 1/00-6/00
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…
Ronald J. Dayton
Found on page 82 of Bruce Elliott’s incredible 1959 book, “Professional Magic Made Easy “ was an effect called Honeycutter. This was a very fast, interest—sustaining commercial, follow—the— leader’ type card handling created by a gentleman named Al Honeycutt.
I’m not sure if my version is any cuter than Mr. Honeycutt’s or not. I’ve not been able to make the conclusion any more direct than his, but I have eliminated the lifts and turnover counts he employed.
When you are performing Honey—cuter, the spectator removes the eight cards you will be using from the deck themselves. In fact, the spectator is involved in this effect from beginning to end since the patter allows them to interact vith the performer several times during the routine.
You begin by tossing the cased deck out on the table and asking that the spectator open the case, remove the cards, then look for the four kings and four aces. They are requested to remove the kings and place them in a face down packet in front of you to your left. Next, they are to find the four aces and place them to your right, also in a face down packet. This done, they are now told to replace the remainder of the deck in the case, close the case and set it to one side for a while.
To my way of thinking…if each packet of cards has been taken from the deck, then tabled in separate packets by the spectator himself, there should be no further reason to show or in essence, count the cards again individually. You should be able to simply place the packets together and continue with your routine.
This is a way to do exactly that in a rather convincing manner, without using lifts, turnovers or drop additions. Begin by picking up the left hand packet, the kings….turn them face up and show them by fanning them between the hands. As the cards are closed and held in the left hand, you retain a little finger break between the second and third cards. The right hand now picks up the packet to the right, the four aces. You fan these cards in the right hand. Then, to close the packet, you tap the long edge of the cards nearest the R.H. little finger against the table top. But, you keep enough pressure on the cards so the face card of the fan does not close flush with the packet. It extents fanned or slightly jogged about a quarter of an inch or more beyond the other three cards. Now, as the hands are brought together, seemingly in the action of simply placing the four aces on the front of the four kings packet in the left hand, the first three aces go into the break of the left hand cards and the jogged ace slides on to the front of the top two kings. The packet of eight cards are now squared and held in the left hand.
The packet in the left hand is now turned face down and held in the left hand in dealer’s position.
The top two cards of the left hand packet are now thumbed off into the right hand. You draw attention to a spot on the table to your left. Point to the spot vith the right hand cards, slightly fanned and tipped so their faces may be seen. The right hand then returns to the left and two more cards are thumbed off the left hand packet, being taken BELOW the two already in the right hand. Without showing the faces of the cards in the right hand, they are now dropped face down on to the spot you indicated on the table to your left. You say, “ The four kings will go here.”
The left hand now thumbs the top card of the remaining four it holds face down into the right hand. You turn the right hand card over so its face may be seen and point to a spot on the table to your right. Tap the spot with the card, then turn the card face down and drop it on the spot as you say, “ The aces will go here.” During this action, the left hand tips to flash the face card of the remaining three it holds. This will also be an ace. The left hand cards are now dropped face down on top of the tabled card to your right.
You have now set the stage for a fast paced series of events. The audience has cleanly seen both the four aces and the four kings displayed. They believe they know their positions on the table. The kings to your left, the aces to your right. Now the magic can begin.
You tell the spectator you are going to say the names of the cards as you handle them. After you give them the nod, they are to repeat the names of the cards in exactly the same way.
You slide the left hand packet from the table with your right hand and place it face down in the left hand. You say KINGS. The tabled right hand packet is now slid to the left, taking the position previously occupied by the kings. You say, ACES. As your right hand rests above this newly positioned left hand packet, you nod toward the spectator. They say KINGS. You turn the top card over and place it face up to one side. It is a king. Your left hand now tips to flash the front card of its packet. it is an Ace. You nod, and the spectator says ACE. The right hand removes this front card and tables it face up. The card directly below it is seen to be another ace. The packet is now tabled, face down to your right.
The actions are repeated a second time. Tabled packet to your left is removed and held face down in the left hand as you call them kings. The right hand packet is shifted to the left near the face up king. You nod. Spectator says KINGS. Top card of left hand tabled packet is turned over, and it indeed is a king. Left hand tips to flash front card of packet it holds. It is an ace. Nod, and spectator says ACE as you remove this front card and table it face up with the other tabled ace. The cards remaining in the left hand are now tabled face down next to the first two face up aces to your right.
Actions are repeated a third time. Removal of the left hand packet and shifting of the right. Top card of the new left hand packet is turned over, it is a king. The cards in the left hand are turned over to show the front card…. it is an ace, but the card directly above it is a king, and you do not want them to see this card at this time. Simply pull the ace away in the right hand, turning it fully face up while simultaneously turning the king face down with the left hand. Table the face up ace with the others to your right, and place the face down king next to that packet.
The final reveal involves no ‘handling’ at all. The cards are already in position. Simply slide the face down left hand card off the table face down into your left hand, and then transpose the face down right hand card to the left beside the three face up kings. Name the face down cards as you do so, king and ace. Nod to the spectator. They say king as you turn over the left hand card. It is a king. They say ace, and you turn over and table the final card held in your left hand. It is an ace, and is placed face up on the table to your right with the other three aces.
One by one, each of eight cards have transposed themselves from one position to another. It seems as if the power of suggestion… the fact that the spectator names the cards after the packets have been shifted, somehow has the power to WILL the cards to change. This is an excellent foundation upon which to build your patter. The effect is so strong, and so direct, people won’t believe their eyes. If you get the chance to read the original handling in the Elliott book, please do so. I am by no means saying my version is better. All I have done is to modify the handling so “1 am more comfortable with it. Not being a card—worker by any means…I need all the help I can get. This method transforms the Honeycutter effect into one I can and will perform.
You may or may not have noticed that there isn’t much (if any) chemical magic in I.C.O.M. But when a real winner comes along, it’s worth inclusion. This is a great effect and one worth the consideration of the professional looking for something different in the realm of comedy magic. There are just two words of advice I need to mention before you dive into this egg-strodinary trick (sorry, I had to !) 1. If you are under 18 and reading this, please follow this rule. Never experiment with chemical magic unless accompanied by an adult. 2. One comedy line in the following routine may be a bit “politically incorrect”* perform it at your own risk! <G>…BJG
Ronald J. Dayton
This is a tongue—in—cheek effect which begins with the selection of a playing card. After the card has been chosen by an audience member, remembered, and returned to and lost in the deck, you sort of matter—of—factly mention that magic isn’t the only thing you do. For their edification, you show the audience a round egg dish…the type with indentations for holding several eggs. You proceed to tell the audience that you are also an amateur inventor on the side, and that this is your latest creation. All of the eggs are WHITE hard—boiled eggs, but, each one has the name of a different color; RED, BLUE, GREEN, ORANGE and YELLOW printed boldly on it in black felt tip marker. You announce that these are Easter Eggs for color—blind people!*
The dish of eggs is placed upon your table, and while you turn your back, a member of the audience is to come forward and point to one of the colors. He is then to spell its name, moving one egg and one letter at a time in a clock—wise direction around the dish until he comes to a second egg. He is then to spell the name of THAT color, clock-wise in the same manner until he comes to a third and final egg. He is then asked to pick up and remove that egg, and to notify you that he has completed his task.
You turn, approach the table, and without looking at the remaining eggs, you place the dish out of sight, or off to one side for a moment. Your thoughts now return to the card which had been selected earlier. You ask the spectator who made the selection to name his choice. The spectator who made the random choice of one of the eggs is asked to hold that egg up to his forehead and concentrate on the card just named. You bring out a small, clear glass bowl. The spectator is asked to crack and peel the egg he holds. When he does.. .ON THE ACTUAL WHITE OF THE EGG, he will find printed the name of the previously selected card!!
EXPLANATION: This is a combination of a spelling color force of my own creation and a chemical method for writing on the interior surface of a hard—boiled egg which appeared in the Fawcett Book release, “ 100 Houdini Tricks You Can Do “, by Joseph Dunninger. This appeared in paperback in 1954.
Let’s begin with the egg writing since it is the most amazing aspect of this effect. The solution consists of one ounce of ALUM dissolved in one pint of VINEGAR. Using a small paint brush, print the name of the card to be forced C 10—D, K—H, 4—C etc ) on the egg shell of a RAW egg. When completely dry, and no sign of the writing remains, boil the egg for twelve to fifteen minutes. That’s all there is to it.
Mark this egg once it has cooled with the felt tip marker. Print the word GREEN in bold lettering. This will be your force egg. As long as you still have the water on the boil, prepare four additional hard—boiled eggs. When these are drained and cooled, mark them RED, BLUE, ORANGE and YELLOW respectively.
When the eggs are placed into the egg dish, place the blue egg first. To its right, red, then yellow, green and orange. Now, when a free selection is made and its name spelled to to arrive at a second color.., and this new color is spelled out to arrive at a third, that final egg will always be the green egg.. .the only one marked by chemicals to reveal the force card.
You may use any type force you choose for the card. Slip Force, Count Force, Fan Force, Cut Deeper Force etc. I use the latter quite often. You may also arrange the eggs in another order on the plate if you wish, and the Color Spell Force will still work. For this alternate set—up begin with the Red egg, followed to its right by Blue, Green, Orange and yellow. Only this and the previous order given will work. Any other arrangement of the eggs will not bring forth the green egg as an end result every time.
My reason for choosing to use the round egg dish is to eliminate any error on the part of the spectator in the manner and direction in which the colors are to be spelled to. Eggs in a row upon the table may be more confusing than organized in a dish. The clock- wise spelling becomes much easier to control.
Lastly.. .1 would like to comment on the visible markings on the eggs. I opted to print the colors on white eggs for two reasons. First of all, I felt the notion of having invented Easter Eggs for color blind people was pretty funny. Secondly, I could have dyed the eggs in Easter colors.. .but I didn’t know how the dye would work in combination with the alum/vinegar solution painted on the shell earlier. In other words, I’ve just been too lazy to test the colored eggs out for myself. I’m hoping, if you are interested…you will try this out for yourself.
Well Ladies and Gents, without further adieu we bring an effect that is worth “TWICE” your I.C.O.M membership and that is no joke! Ron was saving this for a special contest but decided to give it to our lucky membership. This may be the finest routine of its kind ever published so dig in and thank Ron on the message board when you get the chance…BJG
“ THE GUESTLIST “
A Full Routine and Incredible Concept
Ronald J. Dayton
Several props are lying upon your table. There is a sheet of paper upon which a listing of names has been professionally printed. There is also a pen or pencil, a note pad, and a standard security envelope.
You give an account of a private party you had recently been hired to perform at. The hosts, Lincoln and Jillian Potter supplied a list of the guests who would be present. The list named twelve couples and all of their children. The total number of people attending the party, including the Potters and their two children came to fifty people…husbands and wives, sons and daughters.
When you are escorted out of the room, a member of the audience is shown the guest list. They are to choose any name on the list they wish. Any individual first name. They then write this name on a slip of paper from the note pad, place the slip into the security envelope and seal same. When the name was chosen it was shown to the others in the group.
Your assistant then places the security envelope at the back top edge of the Guest List and secures it with a paper clip. The spectator then places the sheet with attached envelope on the table. Envelope is below, list is on top.
The security envelope prevents any view of the folded slip inside it. Only the list of names is visible to the performer when he returns. The spectator is asked to concentrate on the name they chose. The performer eventually announces the image of a family name he is getting. In time, without asking any questions, he is able to correctly reveal the chosen name.
At first glance, this may all seem a bit complicated, but, once you begin to really understand the principle, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is. The complete GUESTLIST, properly printed is given with this explanation. You will also find a step-by-step, five-part instruction sheet that should make everything clear.
Let’s look at the instruction sheet first. Figure *1 shows four paper clips positioned on a sheet of paper. Every clip has two curl ends, a larger long end, and a smaller short end. These can be slipped on to a card or sheet of paper in one of four ways. Figure one shows the visual clip code for the categories of the people who can be selected. They will either be one of the husbands, a wife, or one of their children…son or daughter. The position of the clip on the paper will tell you which it is.
Item *2 on the instruction sheet explains that you have five different color paper clips at your disposal. You’ll recall that the paper slip is not on the table at the start. One of each clip is in a different pocket on your assistant’s person. They have memorized which pocket contains which color clip.
Each color has a certain number of letters in its spelling. The letters in the color match the letters in the names on the Guestlist. So depending upon the color of the clip, and the way it is facing on the paper, you will be coded the sex and adult or adolescent status of the person, and the number of letters in their first name.
That’s great you say, but how do I discover which of the fifty names has been selected? Instruction figure *3 explains this. Look at the guest list. You’ll see that GUESTLIST is printed at the top center of the page. As shown in Fig. 3, depending upon if the curl end of the clip is nearest the G, the center T, or the far right-hand T in the word GUEST LIST…you are told if the name appears in group A, B or C of the list.
You have twelve couples listed. This is broken down into three groups of four as shown in Fig. 4. Group A runs from Riley to Randall, group B from Bates to Stolks, and Group C from McConroy to Yardley. Dots at left margin denote the start of the new group.
All of the actual guests can be coded with either a red, blue, green or yellow paper clip. The silver paper clip codes the Potter family. It can be anywhere near the center of the top edge. You need only know it is silver for Potter, and which direction it faces, large or small curl to denote the sex of the adult or child.
Step number six on the instruction sheet gives four examples. The words GUESTLIST appear just as on the actual list. The first clip is red. It Is near the letter G, and the large curl end is open side to the right. The name it codes is Hal Riley. In the second example, the clip is green. a small curl end is open to the left. This is a girl. The clip is near the center of the words GUESTLIST, coding group B. Green has five letters. The only five letter girls name in group B is Renee In example three, the blue clip is large curl end open to the left. This indicates a wife. The clip is near the last T in the word List, coding group C. The wife in that group with four letters ( blue ) is Joan Yardley. The last example is a silver slip, so we know it is one of the Potters. It is a small curl end to the right, so its a boy. The chosen name is their son, Gregory.
While you are out of the room, your assistant sees the name that is chosen., so she knows if it is a husband, wife, son or daughter. She also knows the number of letters in the name, and that tells her which color clip to take from which pocket. The name is written down by the spectator, the paper folded and placed into a security envelope and sealed. The assistant then affixes the envelope to the back of the GUESTLIST sheet, using the proper color clip with the proper curl end turned the proper way at the front of the page…and the clip positioned in the right place over the words GUEST LIST. When the performer enters, he is looking directly at the list of names and at the clip. The clip instantly tells him if it is a husband, wife, son, or daughter that has been chosen. The placement over the words Guest List tells him which group he has to look at, top four names, center four, or last four of the twelve invited couples. The color of the clip tells him the number of letters in the name of the person he seeks. A quick look at the names in the proper group will provide him with an answer.
The exception to all of this is of course, the Potter family. Someone may or may not select one of their names. If they do, the silver clip and the way the curl end faces tells you everything.
As I said in the beginning, this looks much more complicated than it really is. When I first explained it to my twenty-year-old daughter, it didn’t make sense to her. Then we ran through it several times using the actual clips, and in about five minutes, she was revealing the names I had chosen randomly from the list.
I showed the effect to my wife Susan as well, and she suggested it might be used as a Who Done It? type plot in a mystery presentation. Not a bad idea at all. The detective is given a list of suspects and the audience gets to select the name of the guilty party.
My thanks to my daughter Jennifer for assisting me in sorting out all the needed names on the list after the wee hours of the morning had taken their toll on me. Without her sharp mind and eye, this effect would never have been correctly completed.
Who would ever think that a lowly paper clip could transmit so much coded information. When you look at the list, it really does seem impossible. But properly read, it works every time without error. Work with it yourself and discover how simple it is.
HAL and BRENDA RILEY_______________________________________________ _RANDY and GAIL
JACOB and SUE SCHMIDT_______________________________________________NICHOL and AMY
BRAD and CAROL TAYBRICK____________________________________________PETE
ROBERT and BETH RANDALL____________________________________________NANCY and DAN
DANIEL and DEE BATES________________________________________________ TOM, PAM and CHERYL
TOM and TAMERA MONTEL_____________________________________________MARCUS and RENEE
HANK and JUNE GARRETT_______________________________________________JANE and FRANK
LARRY and KATHY STOLKS_____________________________________________DEAN
.TED and SANDRA McCONROY__________________________________________KIM BETH and VIOLET
SIDNEY and JOY TIMMS________________________________________________
RANDY and NANCY DAVIS_____________________________________________OTTO and MANDY
PETE and JOAN YARDLEY______________________________________________OLIVER and TIM
*LINCOLN and JILLIAN POTTER_________________________________________CYNTHIA and GREGORY
DATE:_____________ TIME: __________ PLACE:
ANOTHER APPROACH TO JENNINGS ‘
Ronald J. Dayton
A short time ago, magic lost one of its finest with the death of Larry Jennings. Although I never met the man, I was acutely aware of his prominence and skill in the art. As a performer, innovator and inventor…he exemplified excellence. One of the best of the best.
A friend of mine recently shared a Jennings creation with me. It was an effect in which three playing cards were used. Two with like color backs, and one different. The odd card, when placed at the bottom of the packet of three would magically penetrate to the center, becoming sandwiched between the two like back cards. It could also travel from the center to the outside back in a mysterious manner. The method was simplicity itself. It was the handling and performance that ‘sold’ the effect and gave it strength.
The version my friend had shown to me was not the original Jennings card. The routine was based on Jennings moves, but the card and. the way it had been gimmicked ( one of the like backed cards gave it a locking quality. In other words, the gimmicked section could be handled more casually. This was an innovation of friend Rich Walker.
If you have been an online friend of I.C.O.M for a while, or are familiar with any of my work, or the MUM COLUMN… YOU KNOW I can’t resist ‘tinkering’ with ideas that are new to me.
The illustration shows my version or takes on the Jennings card. Mine is a court card which has been slit half its length down the right inner framework which surrounds the image of the king, then horizontally through the center to the other side, and then down the left hand framing border as indicated by the ‘STEP’ shaped path of the dotted line. With the card on its side, the cut resembles the letter “Z”.
This gimmicked card is one of the two similar backed cards. In the stack, this card is the center card, and the bottom card is the odd backed card.
By turning the odd backed •card perpendicular to the packet from below, its long edge can be slipped up into the top cut section of the gimmicked card. Pushing the odd card to the left, then pulling it to the left with the left hand, and simultaneously swinging or pivoting the card upward…you will discover it is now sandwiched between the two like backed cards. Reversing the procedure will make it travel back to the bottom of the packet.
Thanks to the design of the cut made in the gimmicked card, the slit is well concealed. It also allows for a card that has no break in its side or top borders. Properly handled, this card may be shown quite freely, front and back without revealing the secret passage.
I know that the explanation for any handling has been very brief.. .but you have the basics, and I want you to experience the fun of working with the cards in hand, and discovering what they can do for yourself!
You will find ways for holding and handling the cards which are most suited to only you. How to push the card. How to lift or swing it. Which moves are angle proof, and which need to be guarded? And don’t forget, if your two like backed cards are also court cards of the same value, you can inter—change them, and make the odd card seem to go from the back to the middle, and end up on the face of the packet. Enjoy!
About a year ago I asked Ron to start this series because I knew that any magic school worth it’s salt would need to address the classic props of magic to anyone wishing to pursue the art. Such a series would be a cornerstone of the school and be a reference tool that magicians would use for years to come.
Well, my expectations were surpassed far more than I could have imagined. Over the last year, Ron has taken nearly every classic of magic and written and exhaustive treatise on each. These are quite frankly the finest lessons EVER written on these subjects. I have never seen the likes before and imagine never will again. I.C.O.M is so fortunate to have Ron and his outstanding insights and the student has been given knowledge more precious than platinum.
That being said. It is with great pleasure to present the FINAL installment in this series (unless of course, he gives me another one <G>). And appropriately, it is about the most famous symbol of our art. “The Magic Wand”. The series is now complete and the school can now focus on narrower issues. Thanks again Ron, you are truly one of a kind…BJG
” The WANDer Of It All “
Ronald J. Dayton
Welcome to another session of my seemingly aimless rambling thoughts on a particular subject of my own choosing. This month I would like to discuss the wands of every conceivable style and function I can think of. And to what end you might well ask. Because I am hoping to enlighten those of the newest members of our ranks…and give them some sort of idea what is available to them, and what has been available in the past. Please keep sight of the fact that I most certainly am no expert in the field…but I have read my share of dealer ads in the past…so to that extent…and that extent only, I am qualified.
The magician’s wand is a specialized tool…whether it is gimmicked or altered to afford one particular function or not. Even if it is nothing more than a branch from a tree…a chopstick, or a breadstick…its power lies in what the audience believes it is empowered to do. The wand and its ability to assist in producing miracles are a part of the psyche of modern man. Since the days of wizards of yore, the magic wand has been a mythical symbol. People relate to it, and within their inner spirit, the reason it has the ability to do the impossible.
As a prop alone, the wand is indispensable as a means of affording misdirection, both in a physical and psychological sense. Standard wands and smaller pocket wands allow the performer to lap, pocket, switch, or steal objects at will under the pretense of simply going to his pocket or case for the wand. An action as effective as Dai Vernon’s wand spin is an illusion in and of itself… and one which in the hands of a skilled performer can create absolute miracles.
As I have stated earlier, perhaps a bit too simplistically, a wand, under impromptu circumstances can consist of a variety of things. Depending upon how you present a given object as being a wand will determine the audience’s acceptance or rejection of it. In an oriental routine, you can easily get away with using a chopstick. In restaurant work, very likely a straw, table knife, breadstick will suffice and be accepted, especially if you are working in a light-hearted manner. For comedy work, there are a whole host of wands available. We have the Flat Wand, Spring Wand, Crooked Wand, Feather Duster Wand, Spoon handle and plumber’s plunger wands, Nesting Wands, Break Away Wands, Sponge Wands, Confusing Wands, Color Changing Wands, Zebra Wands, Assistant Diploma Wands and the like.
In the past…wands had a more serious beginning. The standard wand was between fourteen to sixteen inches in length and about a half-inch or so in diameter, usually black with white or silver tips. P&L manufactured special paper shells that allowed the stage performers of the day to present an effective version of the vanishing wand. Special wands called Handkerchief Wands could vanish a silk from within a paper cone. Wands assisted in card rises, flower productions and were sometimes also employed as part of a full stage fountain of water display in which jets of water would spew forth from various objects touched by the wand, and from the wand tip itself.
Wands could seeming to penetrate borrowed hats and coats without injuring them. They could rise or spring from the performer’s hands at will. Some hollow wands were used to produce color changes of liquids…others provided the secret hiding place for necessary somethings in ribbon restorations.
In the forties, special catalyn wands were used much as the modern appearing flag poles are employed. The white tip section appeared to be a cigarette when the flattened band of wand material was rolled in a specific manner. When released, the plastic unrolled rapidly, then re-formed mid-air into the standard wand shape. Spectacular to say the least! As technology moved forward, wands that fired an exploding cap ( Bang Wands ) were created, as well as wands that shot forward burning flash paper in a blinding burst of light. All of these have their place…but each must be handled with the care their potential ability for harm dictates. I was once told of a careless performer who was doing a lecture and used a flash wand with abandon. He actually set it off while pointing it toward people in the front row. The resulting flame hit an elderly gentleman seated there, and the fire literally burned a visible hole in his shirt! By some miracle, the shot did not hit him in the face or eyes.
Other less dangerous wands I might mention were also devised for specialized reasons. Some wands have a small extending pinpoint at one end to facilitate the breaking of balloons in various effects. Some have strong magnets within their tips for card rises, mental effects, etc. Some very clever applications indeed. Some wands are spring-loaded, and hollow, allowing them to secretly insert objects into things such as raw eggs…objects such as rolled bills. Then too, there are wands designed to conceal and visibly produce coins from the air.
When I was very young…one of the first styles of wands I ever purchased via a mail-order catalog was the amazing five-in-one wand. I believe it is still available today. Well, as a matter of point…the wand was quite well made, and very sturdy. But I would caution any person purchasing a piece of apparatus which claims to do ‘ too many ‘ things…to take the claims with a grain of salt. I found, on a personal level, that this marvelous wand did two of the five things very well. When all is said and done…that really isn’t all that bad! <G>
I have no doubt that there are certain styles of wands that have escaped my memory. If you have a sincere interest in discovering more…I strongly urge you to try to get your hands on some old magic catalogs. Investigate newer catalogs as well, because innovators are providing new and exciting props all the time. The history of the wand is a fascinating journey. I urge the serious student of magic to look into it further. The search will provide you with valuable background knowledge to advance your progress. I am certain, since I am not a scholar, that I have missed things you might want to know. But I do most sincerely hope that this has been an enjoyable first step for you to take.
Five Perfect Paddle Puzzles
(for lack of a better name)
Bobby J. Gallo
If there is one thing that really annoys me, it is that you often see very important and valuable sleights explained in children’s magic kits. I have always said that there are many appropriate tricks for kids, but since it is cost-effective to manufacture simple props that involve sleights, the self-working tricks get fewer and fewer. Such is the current state of the paddle.
The paddle, which used the related “paddle move” is a sleight that dates back at least to the 1800s (GEE, THAT’S TWO CENTURIES AGO! <G>) It has been the move by which countless magicians have made reputations and even I use the paddle move for no less than three routines in my close-up program.
All that being said, I realized that I.C.O.M has never really dedicated a lesson to the paddle complete with routines to stimulate the students thinking. So here to start the new millennium, are five perfect paddle puzzles.
To make a paddle of your own, we should look back to the old days and use the original prop. A dull butter knife. Even the plastic kind used at picnics will work great so long as it is not of the “see-thru” variety. Experiment and I am sure you will find other props to use this timeless principle with.
To execute the paddle move, please refer to Jumping Dice Spots In The I.C .O.M Archives. The same move is used there except with dice. If you have any problems, please feel free to use a virtual lesson or consult the classic book, Sach’s Sleight Of Hand-Dover Edition (available in the online catalog).
The following is a list of five effective tricks for use with your butter knife paddle.
- Effect #1: You write a number on a piece of paper and the number appears on the blade of the butter knife.
Method: Before the trick, either write the number with a magic marker on one side of the butter knife blade. Best to use the plastic butter knife for this due to the fact that it is disposable. And if possible, write the number in longhand. This seems to add a certain “something” to the revelation. If you only have a regular metal butter knife and do not want to permanently ruin the blade with the magic marker, just cover the spot on the butter knife blade with “Invisible type Scotch Tape” and write the number on the tape. This way the number (tape) can always be removed in desired. Perform the paddle move to show the butter knife blade blank on both sides then after the magical gesture, turn it over without the move to show the writing has appeared.
- Effect #2: The spectator writes a number from one to 20 on a piece of paper. You tear up the paper and the number appears on the butter knife blade.
Method: Prepare 20 plastic butter knives with numbers written on them from one to twenty and have them indexed in your pocket. Proceed as above. Yes, this takes a bit of work, but imagine the effect it will have on the audience!
- Effect #3: The spectator selects three different numbers which he writes down. You give him a simple arithmetic problem. He folds up the paper so you cannot see the answer and places it in his pocket. The butter knife is shown blank and with a magical gesture, the answer appears on the butter knife blade.
Method: Prepare the butter knife by writing 1-1/2 on the blade. Have the spectator write three DIFFERENT numbers on a piece of paper (without you seeing them). For example, he writes-682. Tell him to REVERSE his figures-(286). Tell him to subtract the smaller figures from the larger-682 minus 286 equal 396. Tell him to take the MIDDLE figure of his answer (9) and divide it by 2-(4-1/2). Now tell him to subtract 3 and his answer is 1-1/2! Follow the above formula and it works every time with one exception. Sometimes his answer will come out in TWO figures instead of three. If it does, the answer will ALWAYS be 99. In that case, you say, “Take either figure”.
- Effect #4: You have a friend in the audience. Prepare the butter knife by writing their initials on one side of the butter knife blade. Proceed as above.
- Effect #5: Here is a risky one but if you have an “out” why not try it? But the odds are 10 to 1 in your favor if you do it this way. Say, “Think of a number BETWEEN 1 and 4. (do not say, FROM 1 to 4). Psychologists will tell you it’s 10 to 1 he’ll think of the number 3. Write 3 on the butter knife blade. You’ll be surprised to learn that it works almost every time. Want it to work every time? Then use effect #2 and get to work!!!<G>