Kid Show Konservatory 1/98-3/98


Kid Show Konservatory 1/98-3/98

January 1998

Old Dogs….New Tricks

Up front I must begin by saying that I truly had trouble deciding where to place the following material. In truth, it is not only appropriate for children’s entertainment, but virtually “ANY” magical venue! What you will find will at first seem a bit simplistic due to where you have likely seen the rudimentary forms of the following tricks before, but do not be misled by that fact, they are solid gold.

The title and theme,…Old Dog….New Trick, are a Ron Dayton Creation. I added the plural aspimagine in this rendition (Old Dogs…New Tricks). After receiving his manuscript in the mail, reading and admiring the material, I realized that I myself had a routine that fit perfectly into the framework of what Ron is talking about utilizing the particular classics he describes.

That being the case, I am adding “MY” Old Dog as an addendum to his routines which appears this month in the Beginner’s Study.. I feel that if you try “ALL” yourself, you have several new routines that will become standards in your own programs.

Old Dog…New Trick
Ronald J. Dayton

When I was very young, one of the very first coin tricks I learned from a book was to vanish a penny from the palm of my hand. The trick depended upon a dab of soft bar soap applied to the nail of your middle finger. When the hand closed into a tight fist around the penny, the fingers bent so the prepared nail came into contact with the penny. When you opened your hand quickly, palm up, with fingers outstretched…the coin seemed to vanish into thin air. I had a lot of fun with that trick. I used everything from chewing gum to pinches of soft tar when pressed for the proper material. What ever it took to make it work. Sometimes, things got a little messy!

I was just a young pup back then, but now I am what you might consider to be an old dog…and they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But I would like to offer an exception to that rule by explaining a different way to achieve a similar effect to the one mentioned above.

Today, a young conjuror need not depend upon out moded things such as soft bar soap to perform his miracles. These days there are a whole host of poster puttys and adhesives which will literally do the trick.

One of the most difficult aspects of the nail vanish of a small coin such as I explained was the recovery of the coin. It had to be manipulated so it could be ‘peeled’ off from the finger by the thumb of the hand, and drawn back into the fist.

what I am proposing is that you apply some rubber cement to the nail of your right hand thumb. Apply a coat of same to the dime or penny you wish to use for the effect. Coat both sides of the coin and allow to dry.

With the coin placed onto the palm of the right hand, display it, then move it onto the surface of the second and third fingers, near the first bend. As the hand begins to close, the tips of the fingers pivot so they are basically facing toward your body. The right thumb enters just as the formation of the fist is being completed. The nail of the thumb has come into contact with the prepared surface of the coin. As the hand lifts and the fist moves palm side toward your audience, the hand opens out fully with finger and thumb spread wide. The coin seems to have vanished completely.

To cause the coin to reappear, simply lower the hand parallel to the floor….closing it into a loose fist and allowing the thumb to enter same before it has closed all the way. Pull the coin from the thumb with the fingers, retaining it in the fist as the thumb withdraws from same. Turn hand over and open to reveal the return of the vanished coin.

The thumb, being a larger digit, offers more concealment than an individual finger. work with these moves and see what they will do for you. Try other adhesives if you wish to find which is best.
An Additional Thought or two on rubber cement and coins:

With a coat of rubber cement applied to each side of a small coin, you are set to experiment with a variety of magical possibilities.

Consider if you will, having an area of rubber cement applied to the shell of an un-cooked egg. The egg could be casually examined. The coin is then vanished by the sleight of your choice. The coin is secretly retained in one hand or later retrieved after having been lapped. The egg is then placed into the hand on top of the coin. The egg may be transferred freely from hand to than at fingertips, the coin being attached to same. When the egg is then broken into a goblet…the vanished coin will seem to somehow have reappeared inside the egg.

Another old production of a coin was to break open a baked roll. In the original method, the coin was simply held under the roll. The roll was then torn open first from the bottom between both hands. The coin was secretly pushed up into the roll, then the roll was bent or broken from the top…splitting it open and revealing the coin. If the bottom of the dinner roll had a coat of rubber cement, it would hold the coin and still be able to be handled freely. The final reveal of the coin supposedly inside the roll would be done just as in the original method.*

A prepared coin could also be vanished via this method by using a coated card in a matrix routine. Give it some additional thought. I’m sure you will discover methods of your very own.

*Be sure no one eats the roll afterwards!…BJG

Ronald J. Dayton

One of the most fun things a magician can do is to perform an effect for other magicians…one they know the method for, and then turn the tables on them by ending with a complete surprise. This is that sort of an effect.

Almost every beginner is familiar with the old impromptu illusion of appearing to pull your thumb in half and then restoring it. Even though it’s simplistic, it really is effective when shown to someone for the very first time. Basically, the illusion is created as shown in figures 1 through 3. In one smooth move, as the hands are brought together, palm to palm as in Fig. 3, the P.R. thumb bends inward, Fig. 1, and the left thumb bends as in Fig. 2 with the index finger covering the bend at the front. When the left hand is drawn or slid toward the right band fingertips, it appears as if the right thumb has been pulled in half.

To modify the handling into something which will catch even seasoned performers off guard, you will need three things. You will need a good grade thumb tip such as a Vernet Tip available from your local magic dealer…a scissors and a tiny rubber band such as used to add tension to the bows of eye glasses. These are available from magic dealers ( for use with folding coins ) or from optical stores.

First of all, take the thumb tip and cut it down in size so when it is worn, it fits to just below the first bend or joint of the thumb. Make sure the color is a good match for your skin. If not, you may have to purchase some flesh color paints from a craft or hobby store to create a good match.

Just prior to your performance, slip the tiny rubber band on to the thumb to the first bend joint. The tension of the band will cut off the circulation just a bit, and dis-color the end of the thumb slightly. At a glance, it appears as if you are wearing a thumb tip. That’s just what you want.

Put the modified thumb tip on the right thumb along with the band, and you are all set.

Be casual with both hands. Handle the tip just as in the instructions so as not to flash its presence prematurely. Now execute the original version of pulling off the thumb, figures 1 – 3. When the left hand has moved to the fingertips of the right, reveal the workings by showing the bend of the left hand thumb. Remember, this is shown only to other magicians and not to lay people.*

Now, as the left hand returns to the right, the right thumb straightens out flat along the N.H. first finger. The left hand now grips the right thumb, but between the left thumb and first finger. In other words, the left thumb is at the front knuckle if the right band thumb, replacing where the left index finger had originally covered in the first handling.

I will attempt to show this set up in Figure 4.

In essence, the left thumb and first finger are now holding on to the thumb tip. when the left hand moves or slides toward the right hand fingertips, the right thumb pulls free of the tip and bends inward on the right palm just as in the original handling. The illusion created is much like the first, only this time, it is the tip that appears to be the genuine end of the right thumb.

Since you are using your left thumb to hold the other digit, those watching are aware that you are not doing the effect as you did at first. They are momentarily confused.

Allow the effect to register, then slide the thumb tip back to the right thumb which straightens as it approaches to allow it to be slipped back on.

You now lower your hands and take a bow. During this time, you secretly pull the thumb tip off the right thumb with your R.H. fingers. Using the left hand to point toward the right, when the hands come together, the tip is stolen away by the left hand thumb. Video tapes by Bernard Bills will demonstrate excellent methods for doing this. Your dealer, or I.C.O.M instructors can also offer suggestions.**

This now leaves the right hand basically clean with the exception of the tiny rubber band still worn on the thumb. As the right hand is shown, the left ditches the thumb tip. Lap it, or simply casually put it in your pocket.

All attention is now on the right hand. It appears as if a thumb tip can still be seen worn on the right thumb. This is where you really catch them good. Very slowly and deliberately, you pull the tiny band off the right thumb.

From beginning to end, those watching think they have your number. As a finale…you are left clean, and they are left bewildered.

* When performing for children and the general public, omit the rubber band & thumb -tip ploy and merely perform the trick the way Ron originally describes it in the first two paragraphs. It is a really effective stunt for kids…..BJG

**Use your virtual lessons!….BJG

February 1998

The Birth Of Something New & End Of Something Old
(The New Art Of Crayon Manipulation)
Bobby J. Gallo

Since the inception of I.C.O.M we have been striving to be unique in the world of magic. To those who have been with us since its inception we hope that you have found many inspirational thoughts, tricks and routines throughout the many I.C.O.M forums. I also hope that “The Kid Show Konservatory” has been no exception. Looking back on its short history, I have given what I have felt to be the most important knowledge I know in an order that would be beneficial to our members.

That being said, I am extremely excited to bring you this months forum. This may be the best installment yet for those who are actively seeking a career in the kid show market. What I am about to share with you will open up a HUGE new vista for ANYONE performing for a family style audience. But before I delve into the concept itself. allow me to give you a little background on WHY this is so important.

Around the turn of the century, it is important to note what the primary materials were that the traveling magician used. Granted, there were the occasional mammoth stage shows with all the accompanied boxes and such. However, most magicians were performing what was known then as “parlor magic”. This consisted mainly of, cards, coins, balls and thimbles. The question of whether or not I can back-up this claim is made manifest if one reads one of the all time classics tomes on magic entitled, “Magic Without Apparatus” By Camille Gaultier. This 500 page giant was considered, and still should be, the definitive source on sleight-of-hand. And what did a book of this size and scope cover? Exactly, just what I mentioned above, cards, coins, balls, and thimbles. Because back then, that was all a magician needed. However, when time went on, two more objects became standard to take their place among the magicians most valued props of choice. Silks and CIGARETTES!

Cigarettes? You means those nasty little things that everyone in the country says are among the most ruthless things ever invented? Yep, as a matter of fact, some of the most famous magicians of all time performed cigarette acts as their feature routines. People like Frakson, Keith Clark, and Cardini himself! Keith Clark in particular actually wrote a huge 300 page encyclopedic work called quite appropriately, ” The Encyclopedia of Cigarette Tricks” By Keith Clark.

Am I advocating the resurgence of cigarette tricks? No, quite the contrary, you will get hung out to dry if you ever even attempt to show a cigarette trick in public these days, ESPECIALLY IN FRONT OF KIDS! Case and point, without mentioning names, I was working the sound board for a popular illusion couple (you would recognize their particular names) nearly two years ago. The show was for area kids (around 300) and was held in a vast gymnasium. During their act, there was fire, the sword basket, (where the assistant was apparently stuck with swords) and other danger tricks. However, during the opening sequence to music the magician lit up a cigarette as part of the routine. The town mayor who was at the show FLIPPED OUT! The show was stopped and an announcement made to the kids that the cigarette was only “make-believe” etc. etc. Can you imagine that! Suffice to say that during the next show, the magician was required to remove the cigarette portion from his act. This will give you and indication of what the current public mentality is concerning cigarettes. People do not like them. Couple that with the fact that in most public places that you will be performing, it is “against the law” to lite one up anyway! The general rule is, don’t do them…..period.

Once again let’s reiterate


So why am I relating all of this to the reader? Simple, I want the student first to realize that there is a literal “mountain” of material at this point just floating about in the magic world pertaining to cigarettes that can not be used because of the subject matter inherent. There are so many tricks, routines, gimmicks, books, methods, and knowledge pertaining to the “so-called cancer sticks” that if there were only something to take their place, the innovative magician would have TONS and TONS of new material at his or her finger tips. Well, that being the case, let’s think. What object is:

  • About the same size and width as a cigarette? (no, candy cigarettes is a wrong answer!)
  • Is instantly recognizable and universally accepted by even the smallest audience members.
  • Has been around as long as anyone reading this can remember?
  • Can be the basis for endless routines?

The answer is…….CRAYONS! That’s right! The little wax sticks that children grow up coloring things with. The lowly crayon can be used to replace the cigarette move for move in virtually every routine that was ever conceived using the now publicly ostracized tobacco filled tubes. Can you see the possibilities?

Why we are so excited about this new concept

We at I.C.O.M are about to embark on an enormous project over time. We are going to adapt all existing sleight-of-hand with cigarettes to sleight-of-hand with crayons! This will be an I.C.O.M exclusive and will provide the student with the basis for literally hundreds of trick and routines. Both stage and close-up (Did he say stage?….yep, that’s what I said!) This is material you will use, and that will make your reputation. It is time to take the thousands of cigarette methods out of obscurity and revamp them for the modern day. The fact that the object is a crayon is why this concept appears here in the Kid Show Konservatory. So starting next month, the various classic cigarette sleights done with crayons will begin to appear in the I.C.O.M Sleight-Of-Hand Gallery bit by bit over time. We will also be including routines here in this forum as the need arises.

If you are a beginner, this is for you!, If you are a pro, this is definitely for you! If you work for kids, this is a must! if you are into sleight-of-hand, this will be a dream come true. All with an object that your audience will LOVE seeing you perform with! The crayon will have instant acceptance, not even a billiard ball can claim that! Think about it, crayons are even more recognizable to children than playing cards! That puts things into perspective.

So what are we waiting for? Lets learn dynamite kid show magic using ordinary everyday ciga….er….crayons!

It all starts in the near future!

March 1998

How Complicated?
Bobby J, Gallo

Those who know my work, know that I am a big proponent of simplicity in magic. I have never subscribed to the notion that magicians need to be “traveling magic shops” in order to entertain children. If the show sits in one place and does not have to be transported, that is another case. But overall for the travelling birthday party magician, “Less Is More”. That has not been the first time I have said that and I suspect that is future lessons, it will not have been the last. So why do I bring it up now? To illustrate that the next effect we will learn, though simple, has fantastic entertainment value.

I have seen tons of props that make even small objects vanish. Some very mechanical that in no way could ever be examined by the audience. I offer in this lesson a way to vanish small objects using completely ungimmicked everyday objects. After all, that is what looks like magic right? When we can take articles that are easily recognizable and in some cases even borrowed, and create magic.

There are not a lot of props to what I am about to describe, and the effect is but a simple vanish of a coin. But it can be worked into another routine where you need to accomplish this or you may build a sweet little routine out of the basic effect itself.

The magician places a coin in the center of a hank or bandanna that is spread out on a table. He then takes a small glass in his left hand and, picking up the coin and the hank, places the coin over the glass, with the folds of the hank hanging down and concealing it from the view of the audience. He drops the coin into the glass and the entire audience hears it strike the bottom of the glass as it does so. When the hank is removed from the glass however, the coin seems to have vanished.

Actually, the coin is NEVER dropped into the glass at all. The glass under the hank is tilted slightly to the side and the coin is dropped AGAINST THE SIDE of the glass. The sound this makes is exactly the same as if the coin were actually dropped into the glass proper. After striking the side of the glass, the coin drops down into the left hand, and is then palmed. The attention of the audience is diverted from the left hand by lifting the covered glass with your right hand and putting it on your table, until you are ready for the final revelation that the coin has vanished. In the meantime, you may go to your pocket to obtain your magic wand and dispose of the coin at the same time.

This is a mixture of sleight-of-hand, misdirection, and subtlety. It take a little practice to get the knack of catching the coin after it has been dropped. You may drop it on the floor a few times during rehearsal but it will become second nature in no time and you will have a vanish that has a list of fine features.

  • Ordinary props
  • No set-up
  • You are clean at the end
  • Can be adapted to other small objects.

So how complicated do things have to be? As you can see…….Not very!


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.

Author: Bobby J. Gallo


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