History of Hot Rod wanted

Discuss the historical aspects of magic, including memories, or favorite stories.

Postby Pete McCabe » 08/09/02 11:21 PM

I'm looking for information on the history of the classic Hot Rod trick. Who invented it, when, where, etc.

I was a bit surprised that I couldn't find this information on the Internet somewhere. If there's a general source for the history of classic effects I'd love to know about it.

Thanks in advance.
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Postby David Regal » 08/10/02 02:09 AM

Pete - also see if you can find out who came up with the notion of asking a person to name a number from one to six...then SPELLING the number. That is a name that will live in infamy.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/10/02 05:52 AM

Since you brought it up, David -- does anyone know a better force to use for the Hot Rod?

I'm really torn on this effect...it was one of the first magic tricks I bought (in fact, I think it may have been THE first), and the effect is great and gets fantastic reactions. It's the only effect that my girlfriend requests on a regular basis...and I've shown her some amazing things, in my opinion. But, I feel weird pulling out this little clear stick with fake gems on it (can you say, "Magician's Prop?") and then SPELLING the chosen number. I will admit that the force is pretty slick, though, as long as you can find some reason to spell instead of count. Sheesh.

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Postby Guest » 08/10/02 12:39 PM

Years ago I put out a trick called Dingbat. It was similar in effect to hot rod but the bat used mini coins. The method was different as all but the "selected" coin vanished from the clear rod. Plus my prop was examinable. I thought the trick was too good to be stuck with the hot rod force so I came up with my zodiac force. To find the spectator's lucky coin, or lucky gemstone, you spell their zodiac sign across the coins or gems.
The zodiac force and my night on the town force were marketed but I don't know if it is still available. It will be in my upcoming book though.
Personalizing the trick by using a spectators zodiac sign adds a lot to the effect.
Best wishes,
Steve
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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 08/10/02 01:53 PM

Bart Whaley has reason to believe James Zachary (a.k.a. "Jim Zee") may have invented "Hot Rod" around 1970. He doesn't offer any details though (see "Who's Who in Magic"). Also check his "Encyclopedic Dictionary of Magic". There might be some information there as well.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 08/10/02 05:35 PM

Craig:

Thanks for the pointer, Craig. I'll contact Jim.

David:

If it turns out Jim Zee created the Hot Rod force, I'll kneel behind him while you push him over backward.

I don't know which I find more surprising: that Hot Rod was only invented so recently or that it was invented so recently and so many magicians know the trick and so few -- myself included -- know who created it.
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Postby Robert Kane » 08/10/02 08:40 PM

I would love to thank Jim Zee or whoever invented the "classic" Hot Rod and its pal the One-to-Six/Spelling Force. Like Jim Maloney, when I perform the Hot Rod, I always receive a very positive reaction.

My presentation was inspired by Michael Skinner's Liberace's Piano Key presentation (for Jumping Gems) as written up in the wonderful Genii Michael Skinner issue (November 2000).

I use a presentation (typically for ladies only) that the Hot Rod is an ancient jeweler stick used in the old days to help a lady to select jewel to match her skin and "soul." When I perform Hot Rod, I place the stick near the ring finger of the spectator describing how the jeweler would use the stick to find the perfect jewel by matching it to the buyers skin, eye and hair color. Then I comment that ancient jewelers also believed in using Numerology as well to help the buyer select the perfect jewel to match their soul and spirit…their Gestalt baby!

After this hoopla, I introduce the typical Hot Rod force and et voila...the effect is fantastic. Again, like Jim Maloney I get requests to "do that again."

Plus, it is easy to carry and "resets in seconds." :D

Did Edward Victor's paddle tricks inspire Hot Rod perhaps?
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Postby Ray Haddad » 08/10/02 11:26 PM

I'm pretty sure that the late Jack Miller invented the modern incarnation of the Hot Rod.

It was he who mass produce them and sold them for years.

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Ray
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Postby David Regal » 08/11/02 07:33 AM

As for the force -

They could sell Hot Rods in sets of two - one for the 3/4 force, and one for the 2/5 force. The set could include two "lists" of colors, which place the force at 1 and 6. You'd ask for a number from one to six then produce the appropriate Hot Rod. Or do it with one Hot Rod that you bring out at the start, but have four lists to handle positions other than 3/4.

A better option - buy three hot rods, each with a different color force. Ask the spectator if she prefers diamonds, rubies, or emeralds? Pull out the appropriate Hot Rod, point out all the different gems, then say "But YOU like emeralds" (or whatever), and do the effect.
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Postby Robert Kane » 08/11/02 07:51 AM

David: That's a fantastic idea! I guess that's why you get paid the big bucks. Thanks and regards, Robert
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Postby Guest » 08/11/02 11:07 AM

Jim Zee invented the Hot Rod, not Jack Miller. Jim also supplied his trick to most of the magic distributors and magic shops. Although he used the best quality rhinestones and produced a better product he managed to compete with the many inferior copies. When I met Jim I had him make a special size of his jumping jems and other paddle tricks for me that would fit inside my closed fist. Jim liked the size and used it for his "large size" versions of those tricks. When he invented Hot Rod he also used the size I had made. So the original size of the Hot Rod is the width of my hand. All the dealers who copied Jim's trick copied the same size Jim used. That's further proof that Jim is the originator of Hot Rod. It is a shame that so many copies are out there depriving Jim of the profit due him. The copies of the trick are now sold in toy stores and was even being given free with toilet paper at super markets.
By the way Jim made custom sets at no extra charge and the rods David Regal mentioned could have been had quite easily. I must have had Jim make 7 0r 8 special Hot Rods for me. So if someone said "Do that again." I could. That was pretty impressive. The Jim Zee coin boxes are the best too.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/11/02 11:35 AM

In the Tenyo Paddle Collection there is a version of Hot Rod that is specially designed to eliminate the awkward parts of the force/spelling business. This is accomplished by using an extra stone that is hidden beneath the thumb. It's quite clever, but they never released it separately, and the collection is almost impossible to find. I would post a jpeg of it here if webmaster Brad would tell me how :) .
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Postby Brad A._dup1 » 08/11/02 06:15 PM

When did Jim Zee stop making his Hot Rod?

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Postby Guest » 08/12/02 03:02 AM

Originally posted by David Regal:
Pete - also see if you can find out who came up with the notion of asking a person to name a number from one to six...then SPELLING the number. That is a name that will live in infamy.
Quite! My own thoughts exactly. And to quote from Strong Magic:

Magicians and Concensus Reality

I vividly recall a card effect I saw as a teenager one of the first times I ever visited Tannen's Magic Shop. The effect was that a spectator selected one of six cards in a row and the performer showed that he had successfully predicted the card. I was singled out as the spectator to make the selection.

The demonstrator asked me to name a number from one to six. I chose six. He then spelled the word "six", pointing to one card on each letter, and pushed the third card toward me. "Amazing," I thought. "How could he possibly have known that the reason I said six was that I really wanted the third card? Of course, if I had actually wanted the sixth card I would have said, 'e-l-e-v-e-n'".


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Postby Craig Matsuoka » 08/12/02 10:16 AM

Originally posted by David Regal:
Pete - also see if you can find out who came up with the notion of asking a person to name a number from one to six...then SPELLING the number. That is a name that will live in infamy.
I think Alan Smithee claims ownership of this idea.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 08/12/02 02:30 PM

Craig: You must be a film buff?
Would a huge compendium of every paddle trick invented sell?
A brief history of the Paddle TRick has been written.

Onward...
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Postby EdAndres » 08/12/02 10:47 PM

doh! :p
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Postby Pete Biro » 08/13/02 11:08 PM

Until THIS thread... I felt the HOT ROD trick was a piece of crap.

Another reason to hate Regal :eek: :p
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Postby JR Russell » 08/14/02 07:01 AM

I've always liked the Skinner routine w/jummping gems to hot rod finish and have been looking for a matching black hot rod with no luck. Anybody have any suggestions/recommendations? I like David Regals idea too!
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Postby Matthew Field » 08/14/02 07:26 AM

Originally posted by JR Russell:
a matching black hot rod
I bought one from Jerry Mentzer's Magic Methods, in North Carolina.

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/14/02 07:30 AM

Originally posted by David Regal:
They could sell Hot Rods in sets of two - one for the 3/4 force, and one for the 2/5 force. The set could include two "lists" of colors, which place the force at 1 and 6. You'd ask for a number from one to six then produce the appropriate Hot Rod. Or do it with one Hot Rod that you bring out at the start, but have four lists to handle positions other than 3/4.
No need for lists. Ask for a number between one and six. If they say either one or six, reply, "Well, don't make it too easy for me! Pick a number between one and six!" More often that not, you won't have to do that, but since you haven't taken anything out yet (and therefore, they have no idea what you're going to do) I doubt they'll question it. For more thoughts on forcing like this, check out Eugene Burger's thoughts on the "6-7-8-9" force (what is this really called?) that he uses in his Simple Spelling effect.

Are there any Hot Rods currently produced that are set up for the 2/5 force?

A better option - buy three hot rods, each with a different color force. Ask the spectator if she prefers diamonds, rubies, or emeralds? Pull out the appropriate Hot Rod, point out all the different gems, then say "But YOU like emeralds" (or whatever), and do the effect.
This is a good idea -- I like it a lot. I'm not sure if I prefer this or the one above, though. Dammit, David...now I have to go out and by two more Hot Rods and try all this stuff out.

The first time I saw the Hot Rod performed (by a friend in elementary school, probably 8-10 years ago (sorry if I make anyone feel old)) was with a black rod, so they are out there...I don't know if they're still produced, though. However, I prefer the clear Hot Rod over an opaque rod. The reason is that, when I saw it performed by my friend, the few of us that were watching immediately thought "Oh, the gems must have two sides and they can roll over somehow. There must be some little button he pushes that switches them." It's stupid, but we thought it, and I wouldn't be surprised if others thought it, too. The clear rod takes that option away, though, because they can see right through it -- they can see that the gems only have one side and there's no secret mechanism in there.

Does anyone here switch the gimmicked rod out for one where both sides match (either all different or all the same?), or do you just pocket it when your done, or what?

Man, I'm glad this thread came up. Like Pete said, "Until THIS thread... I felt the HOT ROD trick was a piece of crap." It's a great effect, just the implementation of it sucks. Not so much anymore. And yeah, I hate David Regal, too.

-Jim

-Jim
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/14/02 07:37 AM

Another question -- any routining ideas? I mean, after the first change, how do you build the routine up to an effective climax? Perhaps I should investigate color changing knives routines? An idea, inspired by the multiple mini-knives climax: have the Hot Rod change into a handful of gems, the same color as the force...and much more than six, so they don't think you just picked 'em out of the Hot Rod.

Another thought on the force: You know how you see the little jewlers bag full of diamonds in all those jewel thief movies? Make one of those with two pockets...one filled with different colored gems (ok...little plastic rhinestones), and the other side filled with your force gem.

Any ideas on what the heck it is, though? The jewler's stick is a cool idea...anything else?

-Jim
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/14/02 11:19 AM

Originally posted by JR Russell:
I've always liked the Skinner routine w/jummping gems to hot rod finish and have been looking for a matching black hot rod with no luck. Anybody have any suggestions/recommendations? I like David Regals idea too!
I was just looking around at what's available in terms of Hot Rods...this thread has sparked my interest in the effect again! MagicSmith.com has brass versions of Hot Rod, Jumping Gems, and Leaping Gems. Elmagicshop.com has a black Hot Rod available.

-Jim
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Postby Guest » 08/14/02 11:52 AM

I had Jim Zee make some special Hot Rods for me many years ago. One rod had 6 different colored gems on both sides. I used this rod as my magic wand with several tricks. The audience got to handle it. They even commented on how attractive it was. When I brought out my regular Hot Rod no one suspected a switch. I asked a woman if she knew what her lucky zodiac gem was. No not her birthstone buy the gem influenced by the sign of her zodiac. I spelled her sign across the gems and forced the 3rd, blue gem. All the gems turned blue. The women loved the trick and I was usually asked to do it again. Yes, I can do it one more time because I always carry a spare magic wand.
My hand went into my pocket and left the first hot rod and came out with two rods. One had blue gems on both sides so it was obviously the first rod and the other had 6 different colored gems. The rod with blue gems was set aside and usually picked up and examined. They had to give it a shake.
The new hot rod looked the same but the gems on the other side were red. I could force the 4th, red gem by spelling the zodiac sign of the second woman. The instant repeat was very impressive. I also carried a rod with red gems on both side but rarely used it. It seems that the examinable rod with blue gems satisfied everyone.
The problem with many tricks is that they are so good that people ask you to do them again. That's why I went to so much trouble working out this routine and having the rods made. I think the clear Hot Rods play much better than the black, brass, wood etc. copies being sold.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 08/14/02 01:52 PM

It was interesting to learn that Jim Zee invented the hot rod. The first time I saw a hot rod was about 30 years ago at Al's Magic Shop in D.C. I still clearly remember the demo, so you know this has to be a powerful effect! If you are considering getting a hot rod, be sure to get one manufactured by Jack Miller Enterprises. Otherwise you will probably find yourself with a poorly made piece of junk. For a time, I had considered making my own, useing wooden rods painted with black laquer, and colored glass stones (rather than the plastic stones, which are used in most all hot rods currently on the market). This way, I could have exactly the types of rods and the specific colors that I wanted. But now I think I might contact Jim Zee, and see if he will make them, as I am familiar with the high quality of his work. And by the way, Chazpro carries the entire line of Jack Miller products, however ELMagic is the only place I know, where you can get a Miller 3 rod set (a "dummy" rod and 2 regular rods, with different force colors, for repeats). My preference is for the black colored rod as opposed to the clear. They aren't going to guess the actual method, whichever rod you use, and colored stones just look better against the black background.
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/14/02 02:01 PM

Originally posted by Brad Jeffers:
They aren't going to guess the actual method, whichever rod you use, and colored stones just look better against the black background.
That's not what I'm worried about. By using the clear rod, you're eliminating one more possible method from their mind. IMO, that makes the clear rod better. I will agree that the colors stand out more on the black background, but I guess either way you'll have to make some sacrifice.

Oh, I will add that I did have a guy figure out the method, but that was my fault. I handed him the rod after "dusting off" one side and let him examine/play with it. After about 20mins, he guessed that I was just turning it over really quickly. It was entirely my fault, though, and I have since learned from the experience. I will go sit in the corner and pray to the spirit of Dai Vernon for forgiveness. :p

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Postby Brad Jeffers » 08/14/02 02:57 PM

Jim, I have seen some dealers who, when demo'ing hot rod, will finish by changing one side back to the multicolored stones, so they can hand the rod out for examination. To me this doesn't seem good, as you are placing to much information in their hands (literally). But of course, their main goal is to sell the trick (again, literally), so mabey in that case, it makes little difference. I agree with you, that by using a clear rod you are eliminating one more possible method from their mind, but just remember, you are eliminating one more possible incorrect method , and after you eliminate all the incorrect methods, all they may be left with, is the correct one. ;)
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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 08/14/02 08:39 PM

Originally posted by Brad Jeffers:
Jim, I have seen some dealers who, when demo'ing hot rod, will finish by changing one side back to the multicolored stones, so they can hand the rod out for examination. To me this doesn't seem good, as you are placing to much information in their hands (literally). But of course, their main goal is to sell the trick (again, literally), so mabey in that case, it makes little difference.
I agree with you -- that's one lesson I learned from my little experience. Another was that I should let anybody play with my stuff for 20mins! :)

I agree with you, that by using a clear rod you are eliminating one more possible method from their mind, but just remember, you are eliminating one more possible [b]incorrect method , and after you eliminate all the incorrect methods, all they may be left with, is the correct one. ;) [/b]
True, but my goal is to eliminate ALL possible methods (in their mind). If they think that I may just be cleverly turning over the rod (ie, the paddle move), I'm lost. And if I get the feeling that they are thinking that, then I'll take measures to eliminate that idea...perhaps by switching to a rod that is the same on both sides or whatever. I want the only thought in their mind to be "That can't be done!" not "Well, that could be done if he had a little mechanism in there or if he turned it over or if they're heat sensitive." If they've got several potential methods in their mind, that's just as bad as if they've settled on one, IMO. They should be left with NO explanation for what they've seen.

-Jim
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Postby JR Russell » 08/14/02 10:39 PM

I picked up my latest jumping gem set in Japan from Ton & Mama Onasaka. The "rods" are black metal, slightly smaller and best of all, they are in a small leather pouch that allow you to open it and show both ends of the rods and slide them out. Now I just need to get a matching hot rod to give another finish.
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Postby Kevin Baker » 08/15/02 01:05 AM

I am sure I am not the only person to notice that hidden amongst a lot of discussion on size, materials, dealers and manufacturers, Steve Dusheck has posted a very clever routine that

- introduces the prop in a subtle manner
- makes the change meaningful to the spectator
- incorporates a devious and well motivated switch to leave them totally bamboozled.

Thanks!
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Postby EdAndres » 08/15/02 09:18 AM

Kevin,
You made me go back and take a second look. THANKS!

Ed
ps. How have you been? Ever write up your coin thing you showed us in the Springs? :cool:
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Postby Kevin Baker » 08/15/02 09:51 AM

Hi Ed,

It's really thanks to Mr Dusheck for sharing!!

No I've not written up the coin stuff - its much more fun just showing it to people.

Hope you're keeping well.

Regards,

Kevin
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Postby Scott » 08/16/02 06:26 PM

Whip out Kohler's U3F, dazzle the audience with it, then move on to something from Lennert Green, then pop into anything else amazing you can think of that has taken you 1000's of hours to master, and then show them the hot rod.

They'll ask you to do it over and over and over. You'll often get the "show them the thing with the gems on it that change color". They'll tell all their friends about it, and when describing the night to anyone, they'll always describe that, and nothing else.

If you require internal messing with people's heads for humor, hand them the non-gimmicked one and watch them rub it and pass it through their hand for minutes at a time. Cracks me up every time.

Damn simplicity.
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Postby Guest » 08/17/02 10:38 PM

One of the most magic things I've ever seen was our forum friend Steve Dusheck doing the Jumping Gems. Pure magic!
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Postby Roy McIlwee » 08/18/02 02:42 PM

John, I saw Steve Dusheck do Jumping Gems a few years ago and it truly was magical. Back in the mid 80s we would go to a magic shop in Tamaqua, Penna.and Steve would kill everyone with his incredible talent. Ever see him do his Wunderbar?It is relly something to see!! Roy McIlwee.
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Postby Roy McIlwee » 08/18/02 02:43 PM

Really!!!
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/18/02 03:49 PM

I do recall that the first "Hot Rod" I owned was purchased from Lou Tannen's in around 1972 and that it was clear lucite. I second the idea that the clear bar adds to the effect.
I have some vague recollection that Keith Walker of Rochester produced a very nice brass Hot Rod a few years ago that was gimmicked, and also locked in some way so that it could be examined afterward with no switch.
Anyone remember this or have one?
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Postby Brad A._dup1 » 08/18/02 04:58 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
I have some vague recollection that Keith Walker of Rochester produced a very nice brass Hot Rod a few years ago that was gimmicked, and also locked in some way so that it could be examined afterward with no switch.
Anyone remember this or have one?
Richard, I do know what you're speaking of. I have seen it, and I've seen one for sale at the Magic Castle Swap Meet.

Did it have some kind of rod inside that could move? I thought it was a strange idea, but fascinating. However, I still like the standard paddle-move hot rod.

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Postby Guest » 08/18/02 08:34 PM

Roy,
Of COURSE I've seen Steve do his Wunderbar. I was laughing after seeing your second post: "Really!!!". Then I saw that you are now from the Poconos. NOW I'm REALLY laughing! I fell off my chair. But I'm afraid I'm the only one who "gets it". :D
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Postby Guest » 08/18/02 08:53 PM

The HotRod Knife is the latest improvement and combines the two great close-up effects,the HotRod and the Color-Changing knives. The knife is available in two force colors along with a standard matching knife. You can see the details at http://www.magic-stars.com. The knives are Mogar Knives and match the other sets.
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