Advanced Lab – October – December 2003

October – December 2003

This is Brilliant!… BJG

By Peter Marucci

basic, two-in-the-hand, one-in-the-pocket routine, full of awful gags and puns, and finishing with a double-laugh climax!

Preparation: You’ll need four little plastic feet and a little plastic hand. These can be found in the doll-making section of almost every craft shop. As well, you’ll need a fake eyeball from your local gag and joke shop.

The hand and eye are in your right jacket pocket, three of the feet are on the table, and the fourth foot is concealed in your right hand.

Presentation: Extend your left hand, palm up, and point to it with your right forefinger: “You’ll notice that my hand is eight inches long. If it were four inches longer it would be a foot.” (First hilarious gag)

Point to the three feet on the table: “But it wouldn’t be like these feet, because they are magical. Let me show you what I mean.”

With the right hand, pick up one foot and toss it into the left hand.

Count: “one.” Pick up the second foot and toss it into the left hand, adding the concealed foot from the right hand. Count: “two.” Pick up the third foot and put it in your right pocket, palming it out again. “And the third foot goes in the pocket.”

Open the left hand, showing that the three feet have magically joined together again. Repeat the sequence but this time, instead of palming the third foot, drop it into the pocket and palm out the hand.

Show the three feet have again magically come together. Casually pick up one foot with the right hand and pretend to toss it into the left, actually switching it for the palmed hand (Bobo switch). Pick up the other two feet with the right hand and drop all three into the right pocket, palming out the eyeball.

“Don’t you think something that magical deserves a hand?” you ask, as you open the left hand and drop the little plastic hand onto the table (Yet another hilarious gag.) Pick up the plastic hand with your right, show it around, then pretend to toss it into the left, actually switching it for the eyeball. As you do, say, “Now there are some people who believe that the hand is quicker than the eye – but I’ll let you be the judge of that.”

Open the left hand and show that the hand has turned into the eyeball. (Final hilarious gag.)

Second thoughts: Of course, you don’t have to use the feet: Anything you used in a two-in-the-hand routine will do, finishing with:

“Don’t you think something that magical deserves a hand?” and continuing with the eyeball gag.

This plays better than you may think, even though it sounds corny. Just don’t analyze it too much. As one wag once put it, “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog: Nobody much cares – and the frog dies.” … Peter Marucci

Another I.C.O.M world exclusive!
A secret that is literally worth hundreds of dollars to any working performer….BJG

“The M.C. Force”
by Bill Wisch

This is a substitute for the valuable, mind-boggling (if done well) classic force.

Every magician, at one time or another, has tried to master the timing and components of this classic. However, very, very few have mastered it (Including me).

I call this “The M.C.Force”, M.C. meaning “Mock Classic”. It is based on a subtlety and takes a very short time to master, yielding every bit of the reaction/effectiveness of the difficult Classic Force. I can attest to this because I’ve used it many, many times for about six months under any and all circumstances without a single hint of a force, and I’m including quite a few experienced card magicians in the group. It is now my favorite because it is by far the easiest, most natural and most convincing. And you can use it as much as you want for the same person/group without any fear of arousing suspicion.

The Subtlety:

Most magicians are familiar with the LH corner riffle force. The force card is below a break held by the pinky and the left thumb riffles until the spectator says “stop”. The cards above the break are lifted by the RH and the force card is offered. To the spectator it appears that you lifted the cards at the exact spot they stopped you. It’s a great force that is sure-fire and widely used.

About six months ago I realized that the same subtle handling of asking the spectator to say “stop” instead of actually taking a card can be applied to the classic force. And the important (and amazing) thing about it is that it doesn’t diminish the power of just spreading out the cards and having one actually taken. You won’t believe it!

The Handling:

1) Force card on top of deck. You can either cut the cards and maintain a pinky break or do an injog shuffle and then get your break.

2) At this point you slowly spread small groups of cards from left hand to right, just as in the classic force. You ask the spectator to say “stop” as you’re spreading.

3) When they stop you, the tip of the right 3rd (ring) finger, immediately lifts up at the break and the RH separates its cards away from the left hand. The force card is now offered to the spectator. NO ONE SUSPECTS THAT YOU STOPPED AT A POINT DIFFERENT FROM WHEN THEY STOPPED YOU!
That’s it! You have to try this to see how effective it is. All the power and punch of the classic force without any of the worry of the difficult timing.

Most of the time the spectator says “stop” before you reach your break, but occasionally they want to take their time and you have to pass the break. Just keep the tip of the right 3rd finger at the break from underneath as you keep spreading in a natural fashion. It will take a small amount of practice but you’ll quickly get used to it. Like I said, it rarely happens, but you can easily spread past the break and still maintain it without detection. After you’ve used it a while, you can actually time getting to the break exactly when they say “stop”.

I’m including “The M.C. Force” here, in I.C.O.M., the greatest cyber-repository of magical knowledge and instruction, to not only get it into print for the first time anywhere, but to allow you, our fine students, to be the first to learn and enjoy it. I hope you try it and keep it secret. In my 32 years of magic I personally have never used a force that is easier and as effective under all circumstances.

Q & A “My Way
Bobby J. Gallo

This alone is worth the price of your membership if I do say so myself…..BJG

Like many other entertainers I have scoured the mental books looking at the wondrous ways to perform that most mind-boggling feat called the Q & A. Nelson and other “psychic” entertainers have literally make careers revolving around this act and it’s no wonder. People who have witnessed it done correctly have revered it as the most amazing effect in magic or mentalism. Take your pick.

Recently I was, for the first time in my career, called upon to perform such an act and I had about two days to put it together. I had no doubts that I could pull it off theatrically. But the method was a different story. I have read Corinda, Annemann, Nelson, and a host of others and some of the methods, ingenious as they were, would not be practical for me. So, I developed a method where I could perform this famous feat and meet the customers expectations. The following is what I did and now will do whenever I get the chance as it is a blast to perform!

The effect goes something like this:

The performer hands out a “post-it” pad and about 6 or 7 golf pencils to various people in the audience with the request that they write anything about anyone in the room and to not tell anyone at all what they wrote. They are then to fold up the paper as small as they can. You then hand out small manila coin envelopes to each of the people who wrote the questions and they are instructed to seal the small billets inside of the envelopes. You then instruct someone to collect the envelope while you blindfold yourself. After both of these procedures are done you hold the envelopes up to your head one by one and begin to answer questions and divulge the secret information to the gasps and utter amazement of your audience. Once you are done you take off the blindfold, breath a heavy sigh of relief that the mental ordeal is over and receive a well deserved round of applause.

Now tell me honestly. Can you think of one thing in all of magic as powerful as this? The answer is that there is simply nothing stronger. Nothing…….

Now if you think that this effect is to good to be true, you’re right! It is! To do it you will have to do some leg-work. That’s the price you have to pay for something as wonderful as this act. You will have to do some “pre-show work” to gain secret information about your audience members. This is the same thing that has made the reputations of some of the all-time great mentalists in history. There are many, many ways to accomplish this and if you have any of the better mentalism books in your library you will have access to methods for obtaining the required information. But there is an easier way and in my circumstance, much more effective as it takes all possible explanation out of the picture from the audience perspective.

You see, two days before the show I mentioned above I received a fax from the agent booking the event. It was two pages of information that was supplied to him from the hostess of the event about the guests that would be present. Things like the politics they subscribed to. Things they did in their lives. Nicknames, etc. Yes, the hostess who booked the engagement was my secret assistant in the act. Since she never met me in person, the audience was none the wiser and since she had a vested interest in the event being a success, was perfectly able to keep the secret.

So next time when someone calls you book your show and you are interested in trying this out, you may want to see if the host or hostess would like something “really” special for the quests. Ask them if they can keep a magical secret and if they can, tell them about the act. I bet more times than not they will go along with you and put together the info you need. And trust me, they themselves will be so delighted at the reactions of the audience that they will be thrilled they did this. In my case the hostess could not stop laughing! Of course this routine is only good for adults and would mean next to nothing in front of a younger crowd. Mentalism except in super rare circumstances never flies for children. They just don’t understand it yet. However, for a teen audience (like a sweet sixteen party), I think it would be a real winner!

Once I got the information, I then typed it all onto a small slip of paper using a word processing program and reduced the font as small as I could so that I could still read it. I got all the info on a “cue-card” that was printed out on pastel yellow paper and then cut small enough to be taped onto one of the small manila envelopes in the stack.

Once all the envelopes with the actual billets were collected I added them to a stack of empty envelope that I was holding the entire time. I gave out the empty envelopes to the spectators off of the top of the stack while the one with the info was on the bottom.

Now you may wonder how I can determine the questions that were written by the spectators inside the envelopes. The fact is I didn’t. No one knows what was written inside the envelopes so the spectators had no idea at all if I was actually reading the billets or not! This is EXACTLY how the old time mentalists did their acts! Since you know information about the people present the audience ASSUMES you are actually reading their thoughts! Why would they think otherwise?

As for the blindfold. I just used the standard bandanna blindfold where I was able to peek down the side of my nose in order to read my cue card. Blindfolding yourself is important for a few reasons. One is that when you are blindfolded it just looks better. And two is that you are able to read the cue-card without fear of being detected. I just held one of the sealed billet envelopes up to my head while I slightly tilted the cue card envelope up just enough so that I was able to read the card.

Now while reading the information, you will need to do some clever acting. Don’t just blurt out the information. That looks “too good”. Get a hazy picture in your head and say something that alludes to the information and let the audience fill in the blanks. For instance. In my show, I got information that someone had a staunch political view. So instead of just saying whether he was a Republican or Democrat, I described he he voted for! Pretty easy when you know what they are registered as! I was even able to tell them what news programs he listened to! The result was astounding!

Keep the readings clean and don’t humiliate anyone even if the information supplied to you is embarrassing. The act is so good that putting people in awkward positions in front of other guest simply isn’t necessary.

One word of caution though. This act was SO STRONG, that some people genuinely got freaked out! Yes, this can be a bit scary to some if you perform it well enough. But if you want to do magic that people will remember, then this is certainly the best you can possibly do. In my humble opinion.

Okay, okay, so this is not really an advanced effect, but it’s a winner and let me tell you why. Ever since alludes embarrassing (I hope I spelled that right) used a little wooden car to locate a playing card to international acclaim, other novel methods of card location have been developed. I think this is great comedy for adults and would be outstanding for kids. I myself plan on using it, and for those reasons, I consider this an A-1 lesson in magical “entertainment”….BJG

By Ed Solomon

Basically, the card is selected and shuffled back into the pack and it is ribbon spread as per usual. Rather than a toy to locate the card, a pair of doll shoes and socks are slipped over the first and second finger and they walk down the path gently. At one point they stop and stomp the cards and bubble gum (blue tack) on one of the shoes picks up a single card. Behold, it is the selected card which was forced and has a single pencil dot in the white border on either edge so it can be spotted in the spread. The story line has yet to be developed but the old TV ad with the fingers walking through the yellow pages is a place to start.

I haven’t bought the shoes and sox yet but have them spotted in a craft store and just need to get them. It could be done with a magnet in the shoe and a shgenuinely card but why go to the trouble when the blue tack will work just as well and lends its self to the story line as bubble gum.

The shoes are to be found in hobby shops like Michael’s or doll shops. They look great and the socks don’t come with them. They are necessary to make so the fingers have someplace to slip into when ready to perform. White card stock and laminating material give them rigidity and they are hot glued into the shoe itself. Just make little tubes that fit the tip of the index and second finger and glue them in. Have fun! … In the Craft, Ed