An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
brianarudolph
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An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby brianarudolph » April 7th, 2017, 1:37 pm

One of the effects I always got killer reactions performing in my youth was the classic Cigarette Thru Quarter. I still have several of these gimmicks from all those years ago on hand. And I still get killer actions when I do perform it.

But I've been performing it less and less as time marches on due to the coincidental confluence of two otherwise unconnected events:

1. Smoking keeps declining (and for health's sake rightfully so) making cigarettes somewhat less common than they were many years ago; and

2. Uncle Sam decided that new quarters will henceforth honor the states of the union on their reverse, making it harder to find the previous eagle reverse to match the gimmick.

I've been covering point #2 by changing my former request from "Do you have a quarter on you?" (in which I only had to avoid the bicentennial quarters) to "Do you have any change on you?" I then let the spectator(s) hold their handful of change out as I look through their coins for one that "might possibly work" since "not all coins let you do what I want to show you" or some similar cover lines.

Point #1 is more difficult to cover. I always liked using a cigarette since it sort of "swells" as it squeezes through the gimmick to better cover the hole, and it's fairly fragile (let the smokers go home and crush a few packs of cigarettes trying to duplicate the feat on real coins ... and a tiny bit less smoke enters their lungs and the world.) But using something rigid like a pencil or some of the wooden dowel rods that were made to "replace" cigarettes don't seem to quite cut it (I've tried both) since they don't "swell" to help cover the hole and they are something that the magician introduces rather than something else borrowed from a spectator (... "and does someone also have a small wooden dowel on them, say about four or five inches long? Even better if it's a nice shade of walnut and laquered.")

The effect plays so strong since, to the spectators, everything is borrowed from them and returned to them. It's just so "pure" in their minds. It's "real magic."

I'd love to hear how others are handling these things with Cigarette Thru Quarter (yes, I could go for Cigarette Thru Half Dollar, but try finding one of those in a handful of change even years ago), as well as any other great effects that have faced similar challenges due to the march of time.

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Christopher1979
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Christopher1979 » April 7th, 2017, 5:12 pm

brianarudolph wrote:One of the effects I always got killer reactions performing in my youth was the classic Cigarette Thru Quarter. I still have several of these gimmicks from all those years ago on hand. And I still get killer actions when I do perform it.

But I've been performing it less and less as time marches on due to the coincidental confluence of two otherwise unconnected events:

1. Smoking keeps declining (and for health's sake rightfully so) making cigarettes somewhat less common than they were many years ago; and

2. Uncle Sam decided that new quarters will henceforth honor the states of the union on their reverse, making it harder to find the previous eagle reverse to match the gimmick.

I've been covering point #2 by changing my former request from "Do you have a quarter on you?" (in which I only had to avoid the bicentennial quarters) to "Do you have any change on you?" I then let the spectator(s) hold their handful of change out as I look through their coins for one that "might possibly work" since "not all coins let you do what I want to show you" or some similar cover lines.

Point #1 is more difficult to cover. I always liked using a cigarette since it sort of "swells" as it squeezes through the gimmick to better cover the hole, and it's fairly fragile (let the smokers go home and crush a few packs of cigarettes trying to duplicate the feat on real coins ... and a tiny bit less smoke enters their lungs and the world.) But using something rigid like a pencil or some of the wooden dowel rods that were made to "replace" cigarettes don't seem to quite cut it (I've tried both) since they don't "swell" to help cover the hole and they are something that the magician introduces rather than something else borrowed from a spectator (... "and does someone also have a small wooden dowel on them, say about four or five inches long? Even better if it's a nice shade of walnut and laquered.")

The effect plays so strong since, to the spectators, everything is borrowed from them and returned to them. It's just so "pure" in their minds. It's "real magic."

I'd love to hear how others are handling these things with Cigarette Thru Quarter (yes, I could go for Cigarette Thru Half Dollar, but try finding one of those in a handful of change even years ago), as well as any other great effects that have faced similar challenges due to the march of time.


Great post!, you talking about tricks with Cigarettes i cant help think of Tom Mullica and his famous Cigarette eating trick. I recall him saying he could not preform it anymore due to the high risk of Cancer ect...

I used to smoke and gave up a few years back, thank God!.

MagicbyAlfred
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby MagicbyAlfred » April 7th, 2017, 7:07 pm

Brian,

Yes, the cigarette through quarter trick is an endangered species, and it would be a shame if it went extinct. I used to do the effect years ago, and you're right, it is a layman killer. I don't do the trick anymore because I have been living in California now for the past 7 years and there are very few smokers. Unless you are either outside and see someone smoking, or happen to observe that someone has a pack of cigarettes in their outer shirt or jacket pocket, you will get a lot of blank looks if you ask to borrow a cigarette. But I guess cigarettes are getting scarcer everywhere, at least in the U.S. I read somewhere not long ago, and I can't remember where, that a magician was getting good reactions using a borrowed rolled up bill in lieu of a cigarette. But I guess you would have to try it yourself to know whether it will get anything approaching the kind of reactions you've gotten with the cigarette. Unlike using a pencil or dowel, at least it would be an item borrowed from the spectator as opposed to a prop provided by a magician which is intrinsically suspicious. The added advantage of borrowing a bill is that they may tell you to keep it, which would be especially wonderful if it was a 5, 10, 20 or higher. As for the scarcity of Eagle quarters issue, that is a good idea you came up with to make the broader request for change.

Bob Farmer
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Bob Farmer » April 7th, 2017, 7:27 pm

Use a Crayon. Or a Sharpie ultra fine point. Or a rolled up dollar bill. Don't use the usual fake coin with the flap. I recall the Camirand Academy had a routine with a quarter with a hole.

See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zVzgDMX4UY

http://www.showbizmagic.net/product/cig ... -belanger/

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Richard Kaufman » April 7th, 2017, 8:17 pm

Use a feather--I think Doug Henning did that. (The trick was invented by Pressley Guitar.)
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brianarudolph
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby brianarudolph » April 7th, 2017, 11:14 pm

Bob Farmer wrote:Use a Crayon. Or a Sharpie ultra fine point. Or a rolled up dollar bill. Don't use the usual fake coin with the flap. I recall the Camirand Academy had a routine with a quarter with a hole.

See:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zVzgDMX4UY

http://www.showbizmagic.net/product/cig ... -belanger/


Thanks for those links, Bob. Gary was always so smooth.

I've played with similar "full bore" (as in "hole" not "boring"!!!) gimmicks and I do love the fact that you can show the penetration from both sides of the quarter. But in the end I've always liked the flap coin a bit better (and gotten those coveted flabbergasted gasps I love to hear) because you show the full ("no hole") reverse side of the quarter right up to (and, pardon the pun) through the actual penetration.

Two other reasons I ultimately prefer the flap coin, despite not being able to show both sides: a) the spectators typically have no idea as to what you're going to do when you bring the cigarette toward the quarter ... actually pushing it THROUGH the quarter is not something someone who's never seen the effect before will generally leap to as a possibility, thus overwhelming their sensibilities when that's exactly what DOES happen (and again when the hole also "seals itself" on the way out); and b) later on, I think it is far easier for a spectator to surmise that you must have switched the quarter for one with an actual hole in it and then switched it back again before returning both items to them (even if you were as good as Gary and they had no hope of ever catching you); most spectators will never suspect that you switched another quarter in and out that has a spring-loaded trap door in it - such a thing "cannot exist" in their minds, thereby confounding them even more soundly.

Doomo
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Doomo » April 7th, 2017, 11:54 pm

Oddly enough I had a similar situation with one of my favorite effects! It was marked coin in a see through lighter. The lighter was no longer made and the effect was so strong. But some perseverance led to a solution to the problem.
RFA Productions yeah... It is cool stuff.

www.rfaproductions.com

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Brad Jeffers
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Brad Jeffers » April 8th, 2017, 2:50 am

brianarudolph wrote:I've played with similar "full bore" (as in "hole" not "boring"!!!) gimmicks and I do love the fact that you can show the penetration from both sides of the quarter. But in the end I've always liked the flap coin a bit better
Derek Dingle used both types of gimmicks in his routine, which can be seen HERE.
Richard Kaufman wrote:Use a feather--I think Doug Henning did that.
There is feather through coin gimmick, which can be purchased HERE.
I wonder if Henning used a traditional cigarette through coin gaff, or something different, when he performed the effect using a feather.
Bob Farmer wrote:Use a Crayon. Or a Sharpie ultra fine point. Or a rolled up dollar bill.
I think a rolled up dollar bill is an excellent substitute for a cigarette, as coins and bills go together. You will need to practice rolling the bill to the correct diameter, but the rolled bill should expand to fit exactly once the trick is started.

Steve Mills
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Steve Mills » April 8th, 2017, 8:37 am

I kinda like David Williamson's Fuzzy Pencil.

As a long time coin collector, I've long realized people pay very little attention to their coins. Just as most anyone who is on the dime or quarter. You might be surprised how few know. (Right now - which Roosevelt is on the dime?)

While I loathe the "it just flies past layman" line, I've never had an issue with the type of quarter when using the lovely switch David Williamson uses (sorry for lack of credit).

I still think it plays......
Let him rave, that men may know him mad.Yul Brynner as Rameses II

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erdnasephile
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby erdnasephile » April 8th, 2017, 9:24 am

Richard Kaufman wrote:Use a feather--I think Doug Henning did that. (The trick was invented by Pressley Guitar.)


Wasn't the feather idea Doug Bennett's?

I think it's stronger than the usual cylindrical objects because it seems to melt through without giving the idea of a circular hole.

brianarudolph
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby brianarudolph » April 8th, 2017, 12:47 pm

As Brad noted, the rolled-up bill is probably the best option I've heard so far because it will expand to fill the hole just like a poster expands to fill a mailing tube (obviously avoid using ratty bills.) And the bonus of coins and bills both being money makes for well-integrated patter.

But even though other items like a feather, crayon, etc. can/do work, a big part of the impact I want to create rests with the fact that all of the items are borrowed from the spectators and returned to spectators (score another point for a rolled bill.) Anything the magician introduces will somewhat diminish that impact; "he's just using a trick feather" and similar stabs at an explanation are things I can vividly envision hearing whispered in the dark. Even though a nice, "bushy" feather is going to bring a significant amount of added beauty and grace to the effect that you'll never get with a cigarette, bill, etc., I'd rather trade such extra beauty for the "purity" of borrowing everything. As with everything here, these are simply my preferences for the effect as I want to create it - I'm not arguing against doing the effect with a feather for example, it just doesn't work for what I'm trying to accomplish.

That's also why I am more worried about the coin/gimmick matching than Steve. Since my audience is focused so much on the eagle side of their(?) coin right up to the penetration, if I were to borrow and return a quarter honoring Oklahoma, I can't help but think that I'd get busted more often than not.

Brad's link to Derek Dingle's routine made me think about two things. The first is the major forehead-slapper for me: Duh!!! Use both gimmicks so you can show the coin on both sides one time and then the visible (trap-door) penetration for the second time!!! The second risks sacrilege but I'll say it anyway: I didn't like Dingle "exposing" a full-bore gimmick at all, even though it was a bullethole quarter and not just a simple hole. "Look! Here's a quarter with a hole in it and you didn't see me switch it in and out!" are two things I do NOT want to blatantly admit to nor are they ideas I intentionally want to plant in my spectators' heads while I'm with them. It's bad enough they already have their suspicions and that they can Google everything on the phone in their pocket - why should I save them that last trivial bit of trouble too, especially while I'm performing? By employing both gimmicks (but without the exposure) in two successive penetrations, the showing of both sides of the coin in the first penetration "proves" that both sides of the coin CAN be shown - even though you never really show it the second time. And that's OK because the visual penetration is so unexpected and stunning that by the time they might even realize you haven't shown them the other side this time, you're already pulling the cigarette/bill out - and they want to see what happens when it's all the way out. There simply HAS to be a hole there in their minds (and for internal giggles: they're actually right - they just can't see it!) But the visual sealing of the hole really, really, really makes them want to see "their" quarter RIGHT NOW. So when you willfully hand it back one smooth flow, they aren't worried about the other side at all. You've already shown them the other side once before anyway.

In this routine, the only thing that probably won't match is the date on the obverse side of their quarter and the date on my full-bore gimmick. But now Steve's "no one pays that close attention" principle plays extremely well: you're not going to show the obverse side very long and it's likely to be in motion enough that no one would be able to get a fix on the date anyway - and even if you are still worried about that, just hold the full-bore so that you cover its date when you show the obverse in the first penetration.

Loving this!!!

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John M. Dale
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby John M. Dale » April 8th, 2017, 2:38 pm

YMMV, but I've used the trapdoor gimmick and, after doing the initial penetration, casually (but quickly) turned the "clean" side around facing me for an instant, flashing the "dirty" side. I have the trap hidden and the solder blob on the back of the gimmick flashes enough silver that the quick flash passes.

JMD

Leonard Hevia
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Re: An Old Favorite and the March of Time

Postby Leonard Hevia » April 8th, 2017, 6:19 pm

It could be argued that for a time, the Cigarette Thru Quarter became too popular and lost its edge. At a restaurant gig many years ago, Larry Davidson encountered a patron/amateur magician who showed off his own "special" quarter after Larry had performed this effect at his table. Larry asked to examine his Johnson gaffed quarter, switched it out for a real one, and gave it back to him: "Looks normal to me."

I asked Larry what he did with that gaffed quarter and he replied that he threw it in the trash.


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