Book of the Month: Life Savers

This forum is an ongoing, and evolving, discussion. Genii Forum members discuss opinions and trade notes on current and past magic books.

Postby Dustin Stinett » 01/26/04 01:30 AM

Though I never have, Ive always wanted to ask its publisher, Richard Kaufman and/or its author, Michael Weber, why Life Savers (Kaufman and Greenberg, 1991) was published in such an unusual configuration. Both men actually (jokingly) attribute the narrow format to the books continuing sales: the spines of the books to either side of this narrow volume eventually close in and hide from view the spine of Life Savers. The owner, unable to locate the book, decides its lost or was borrowed and not returned, and thus purchases another copy. Of course, the real reason for its continued sales is because those who are badly fooled by someone else doing an effect from the book discover its origin and purchase the book. But that doesnt answer the question, why is this material offered in this unusual format? Is it because the material is not at all usual?

Most books on magic are quite easy to pigeonhole into a descriptive genre: cards, coins, close-up, theory, stage, history and, of course, impromptu magic, are categories that come immediately to mind. While most would (and do) place Life Savers into the impromptu class, I am not convinced that this is completely accurate--or fair for that matter. I believe Life Savers is in a genre all its own. In fact, Im not 100% convinced the author chose the correct word, improvised, when defining the work in his introduction (and, of course, the alliterate subtitle of the book, A Handbook of Improvised Impossibilities) though, without question, that word is far more applicable than is impromptu.

In my mind, most of the magic found in Life Savers is opportunistic. That wonderful Maliniesque form of conjuring whose impact is tenfold greater to the observer because, besides a strong magical effect, the circumstances surrounding its performance are unassuming and natural: they dont appear to lend themselves to a magical performance. Its one thing to be able to make a salt shaker pass through the dinner table, but its quite another to cause the salt in that shaker--the very shaker used by the observer during his or her meal--to transpose with the pepper and finally be filled half with salt and half with pepper. Its one thing for a magician to tear and restore his business card while standing on line at the DMV and quite another to tear off and restore the belt loop on the trousers of a friend (or a friendly stranger, should you have the nerve) in that same line.

As the author points out in his introduction, there is no such thing as truly impromptu magic. It may appear off the cuff, but all good magic needs to be well practiced and rehearsed. The same unrehearsed appearance holds true for improvised and opportunistic magic, hence the confusion with impromptu magic. However, as opposed to impromptu magic as we know it (which is magic that simply requires very little or no preparation), most improvised magic follows different rules and has an additional skill-set. Preparation can be complicated and extensive and often needs to be done on the fly. One also needs the ability to recognize the circumstances that is conducive to improvisational magic and all of this needs to be done with absolutely no inkling to the observers that any previous thought was put into it. The apparent absence of preparation for the moment is as important to these illusions as the absence of preparation of the objects used.

Taking advantage of the moment, or the opportunity, is the central theme in this book. Given circumstances is a phrase more associated with acting than magic, but Weber stresses the given circumstances of each of these effects because he is trying to impress upon the reader that these underlying details are as much a part of the overall impact on the audience as is the magical effect. Some readers might be tempted to make some of these items regular show pieces. Though a few of these effects will lend themselves to such development, to do so would take away from their impact because the circumstances of a show are far different from the situations for which these items have been created.

Life Savers is segregated into six sections: The Expert at the Dinner Table; Object Lessons; Little or Nothing; By Ones Own Devices; On Location; and Special Effects. These sections are designed to place the effects into appropriate segments, but there is indeed room for overlap. The reader is limited only by those circumstances he more commonly finds himself and his ability to analyze the effects and fit them into those situations. In all there are 43 items in this book. The author recommends finding one or perhaps two that best fit the readers usual surroundings and circumstances. And Weber also admonishes the reader to never perform more than one of these items at any given time. These warnings are noteworthy because its the authors way of impressing upon the reader that too much of a good thing is bad for the overall effect. Create some kind of routine from these effects and thats what they will turn into: an obvious setup; a well rehearsed act. That is the last thing the performance of these items should elicit in the minds of the viewers. (Though it must be made crystal clear to you, dear reader, that, as with all good magic, these items need to be very well rehearsed, including the preparation. As Weber notes in his introduction, Rehearsing the set-up [sic] is as important as rehearsing the effect. Setting up for an effect while at home is quite different from trying to surreptitiously gaff a matchbook in a public restroom. Such disciplined rehearsal is also paramount for these effects so that the acting necessary to create the illusion of spontaneity is successfully executed.)

The listing of each item will not occur here, and my chosen item(s) will perhaps be the subject of subsequent posts and further discussion. In the mean time, I hope the contents of this book, as well as the subject of improvisation and opportunity generates some discussion and thought. Share your thoughts on this book (whatever they may be) as well as your ideas, no matter how far out or impractical they may seem. Perhaps our other members will help brainstorm that idea into something practical. Do not allow being unusual intimidate or inhibit you. For everything about Life Savers is unusual: From its format, its offbeat material and its seemingly pedestrian material that, due to circumstance, reaches miracle class, to the disciplines it teaches from the shadows: Life Savers is in a class all its own. That too is unusual for a magic book.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5901
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 01/29/04 01:09 PM

Does anyone do "Stretching It"? Once you've done the setup it looks fantastic, but how do you cover the preparation? It looks pretty suspicious when I do it. The linking and the display of the linked bands is brilliant.
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/29/04 04:23 PM

I use Kenner's "Missing Link" (which is basically the same thing as "Stretching it") and I use a joke to cover the set-up (they laugh... my hands drop... a second later, I'm ready to roll .)

Note: If you'd like to see the effect (without 'misdirection / presentation' cover) head over to www.sleightgeek.com & check out this clip: http://www.sleightgeek.com/phpBB2/viewt ... ssing+link

anway... i got off track...

I meant to add an inquiry to the previous question:

I've always admired Weber's ingenious finish/unlink, but have never (despite MANY practice sessions) been able to get it to work (smoothly) on a regular basis...

Does anyone else USE Weber's unlink M.O.

if so, any tips?
Guest
 

Postby Pete McCabe » 01/30/04 12:59 AM

When I first got back into magic after my obligatory ten-year hiatus, Life Savers was the first book I purchased. It is still one of my favorites.

Don't miss "Offhand Penetration", which you can do any time you pick up a rubber band. And if you do any "soft" linking safety pin routine, you'll definitely want to read Michael's way to end any such routine, making the pins examinable. (And you may want to use "Down with Safety" to begin the routine.)

The five-cent ring on stick is absolutely fantastic magic. Worth every penny of the five cents.

And Stretching it is still, IMO, the ne plus ultra of linking rubber band effects.


Doug:

I use Weber's unlink exactly as written and have never had any problems. Maybe I was just lucky ("to be lucky in the beginning is everything" -- Cervantes).

What are you having problems with? I'll help if I can.


Pete
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2080
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby NCMarsh » 01/30/04 10:06 AM

And Stretching it is still, IMO, the ne plus ultra of linking rubber band effects.
This has been touched on before, but since "Stretching It" has received such praise, I think it's only fair to quote from Chris Kenner's introduction to "5 Speed" (Totally Out of Control/Out of Control page 166):

Approximately four years ago, while having a heavey duty magic session with my good friend Micheal Weber, we decided to swap tricks. I taught him a trick where two rubber bands are touched together, linking in the cleanest possible manner. Micheal showed me an incredible three card monte. Since then, my dear friend, Mr. Weber, published his (?) version of my trick in his book LifeSavers. I thought that it was only justice that my (?) version of his trick should appear in my book...Out of Control
I don't have LifeSavers, so I can't verify this, but Kenner claims that the version of the trick published in TOOC/OOC contains important finesse and subtlety not included in the Weber write up...so I would encourage those of you who enjoy the routine as published by Weber to take a look at Kenner's description.

And, yes, it is a damn good trick...

best,

nate
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Brad Henderson » 01/30/04 10:58 AM

It was also published as Battle of the Bands under Kenner's by line in Steve Beam's Trapdoor magazine.
Brad Henderson
 
Posts: 2459
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: austin, tx

Postby Guest » 01/30/04 04:10 PM

Pete:
The bands always get 'tangled' and I have to fumble to get into 'unlink position.' It's not something that would happen everytime... but about 50% of the time, it would look as though I was trying to untie a knot. Not sure what/if any help to ask for.... Perhaps we'll meet one day & you can show me 'the real work.'

Another note on places where this was published:
I think Kenner also release this effect in a stand-alone manuscript called "Bands Across the Globe" & It's on one of Harlan's Band-vids... Plus... I also seem to remember it in the Racherbaumer Rubber-Band video (yup, there is/was such a vid!)
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 01/31/04 10:26 PM

I think all the complaints about the lineage of Weber's band routine comes from folks that never read the original write-up. In Lifesavers Weber writes:

"The history of this routine is almost as long as the explanation. My friend Chris Kenner began with a combination of Dan Harlan's linking bands and the Indian method of the broken and restored rubber band from Martin Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic. Together, Chris and I refined the linking phase. I developed the transitional phase and un-linking handling which appear here for the first time."

Later, he adds:

"This remarkable link and display phase is primarily the brainchild of Chris Kenner. Chris now concludes by "breaking and restoring" the dark band to unlink the bands. I believe this approach could lead the viewer to the correct conclusion that the bands were somehow stretched and intertwined to create the illusion that they were linked. What follows are my contributions to the routine: the transition from the doubled band to two single bands, the final displays and the un-link which occurs in the viewer's hands."

Weber credits Kenner, Harlan and Gardner, and only claims the transitional phase and the unlinking ending.

So where's the beef?
Guest
 

Postby NCMarsh » 01/31/04 11:03 PM

The beef is that (as Kenner's book implies -- obviously i'm not privy to the real story) he didn't have permission.

best,

nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Pete McCabe » 02/01/04 12:08 AM

Doug:

When I do this the doubled band always ends up twisted during the first display. Partly because this helps hold it in place but mostly because I think it conceals the doubled band better. If the band is stretched straight and they two parallel sections separate, the illusion is ruined.

So at this point I say "Here, let me untwist this for you, so you can see it better." I let the upper band relax into my left hand, where the fingers hide it. The right hand reaches in and, in untwisting the band, retakes it in the second position.

So I'm not sure this qualifies as the real work, but it does motivate the work, which I find is all you need in this trick. The visual moments of the link and the unlink are so strong that the audience needs very little encouragement to disregard the time in between.
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2080
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby Guest » 02/01/04 10:35 AM

Re: "Motivating the Work"
Good tip Pete, thanks.

Re: "The Missing Beef"
When I read Kenner's (credit) remarks, it came across as a "Tounge in Cheek" joke.
Guest
 

Postby Frank Yuen » 02/01/04 10:55 AM

Re: "The Missing Beef"
When I read Kenner's (credit) remarks, it came across as a "Tounge in Cheek" joke.
Same here. I don't recall any buzz in the magic world when the book came out (nor when Kenner's book was released) so I am inclined to believe that it was indeed a joke.

Frank Yuen
Frank Yuen
 
Posts: 547
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Winfield, IL

Postby NCMarsh » 02/01/04 11:53 AM

May have been...I read it differently and was just putting it out in an effort to be fair...I quoted Chris' writing directly in order to allow the reader to interpret for himself, and was very clear that I have not read LifeSavers...Is there anyone here who knows the actual story?

Additionally, the "there was no buzz" argument is pointless...Bill Kalush was unequivocal in saying that Kenner's "Perversion" was a minor variation of his then-unpublished "fidgeting card" -- no "buzz" over that that I can recall...doesn't mean it didn't happen

but again, when one of us reads the text one way, and another another, the only meaningful resolution can come when someone who knows what Kenner's intentions were comes forward...maybe he was just joking -- all i can say is that it doesn't read that way to me...

One does get the sense of genuine friendship from Kenner's words -- and this may ultimately be a non-issue...I had not read Weber's writeup (and stated so in the original post), and am glad that credit was given -- even if, perhaps, the piece was published without permission from the creator...

best,

nate.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
User avatar
NCMarsh
 
Posts: 1161
Joined: 02/16/08 01:00 PM
Location: Orlando, FL

Postby Bill Mullins » 02/02/04 02:04 PM

Originally posted by D. Conn:

When I read Kenner's (credit) remarks, it came across as a "Tounge in Cheek" joke.
Uh, which parts of Kenner's book DON'T come across as tongue in cheek??? :)
Bill Mullins
 
Posts: 2976
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Huntsville, AL

Postby Bill Duncan » 02/02/04 11:21 PM

Well now that I know parts of it were supposed to be funny it's a lot less confusing...

:confused:
Bill Duncan
 
Posts: 1360
Joined: 03/13/08 11:33 PM

Postby Pete McCabe » 02/03/04 11:34 AM

By the way, if you do Stretching it or a version of it, use two different colored rubber bands. And make one of them larger (i.e. longer) than the other. Kenner covers this in OOC/TOOC, I believe.

Also, when you break a rubber band while practicing, take a look at "Knot The Truth." It's a great little trick where a knot moves along the surface of a broken rubber band.

Then try the same thing, only using a finger ring hanging on the band. Tilt the band so that the ring is moving (slightly) uphill. And finally, twist the band. You will find that the ring still moves while the twists stay put. This is a really cool illusion.
Pete McCabe
 
Posts: 2080
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Simi Valley, CA

Postby John Bodine » 02/03/04 02:29 PM

I too perform Kenner's "Missing Link" or as Weber calls it "Stretching it". I don't perform the unlink as Weber has written up in Lifesavers. I learned the effect from TOOC and perform it as written there. I do use different colored bands, a large yellow or red one and the standard #19 I use for CMH and the rest of a rubberband set.

I also like the Penny Candy routine (Eric Maurin's) and all of the subtleties talked about in Powers of Dimness.

johnbodine
John Bodine
 
Posts: 105
Joined: 07/23/08 03:50 PM

Postby Guest » 02/12/04 04:33 PM

Two tricks that I have done out of this book nobody has mentioned. I would like to do that now. There are abbout six of eight in the book I like but these I have done.

The cap in the bottle.I did this as I'm going to put a half a doller in this bottle, who has a half to lend me ( don't do this at a magic club or magic convention )When nobody has a half I'll use the cap in place of the half .

Appealing Illusion. Great update of the wallpaper trick, plays well with the car magazine .

look these up , they're neat.....Mike
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/13/04 08:55 AM

The item that I have had the most use of is the improvised pulls. I have made pulls on the spur of the moment and have used them to vanish everything from dollar bills to pens to lit cigarettes. Also I tore a good friends pants performing "knocked for a loop" incorrectly.
Guest
 

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/25/04 12:34 AM

The scene: Im in a conference room where a meeting with eight other people is taking place. Lunch, which was delivered to the room, has just ended and the remnants cleared. Post-lunch small talk some how gets around to a spirited discussion on psychics and other paranormal activities. Being a skeptic, I offer a demonstration of how self-proclaimed psychics create their illusions. I ask those gathered if they noticed the empathetic vibrations emanating from Susan. I certainly have.

I write something down on a note pad and hand the folded paper to Carl for safe keeping. I ask everyone in the room, except Susan, to place something personal of theirs in the center of the conference table. Keys, a piece of jewelry, a pen; any personal object you may have on or with you. The only rule is that there may not be any duplication of items.

The objects are gathered into the center of the table.

I tell Susan about how we used to select sports teams when I was in school. The first captain would pick two people, but the opposing captain got to eliminate one, placing that person back into the selection pool. Then we would reverse the process and go back and forth. I demonstrate by taking two objects from the group on the table and ask her to eliminate one, returning it to its ownershe does. I then ask her to choose two items, and I eliminate one handing it back to its owner. We continue with this extremely fair process of elimination until only two objectsa Week at a Glance booklet and a set of keysare left on the table. I ask Susan to pick up any one of the remaining objects and hand it to Carl. Susan hands Carl the calendar book. I walk over by Carl and pick up the book. Susan, you have selected [I look at the booklet, flipping through a few pages and then hold it out for all to see] a calendar book. I ask Carl to Please read aloud what I wrote down before any personal items were ever placed onto the table.

Time is very precious to Susan: So much so that she will present you with something that measures the passage of time.

* * * *

I have had the opportunity to do this twice, with two different groups of people (the last time being several years ago, Im sorry to say: the opportunity simply has not presented itself since.) The above is the first of those two events. Those familiar with Life Savers will recognize this as the effect The Laying-On of Hands also known as the PATEO principle (Pick And Take Either Or).

The prediction is written before anyone places a personal item on the table, which (I think) adds tremendously to the effect. During this period (well before hand-held computers became the norm), almost everyone I worked with carried a Week at a Glance booklet (or something like it), so I had a better than average shot that one would be placed on the table. But by writing the prediction the way I did I allowed myself the out that if one wasnt placed on the table, most assuredly a watch would be (in fact, the second time I did this, it had to be the watch as no one placed an organizer on the table). I was also prepared to place my own watch onto the table if I needed tobut I didnt have to. I like to have an odd number on the table so I can start the process (since this is how I rehearsed it), so the second time, when I had an even number of people placing items, I added my wedding ring to the mix (having seen that the watch was already there). Its also worth noting that the first time there was a watch as well as the organizer, so I selected the watch among my first two items and Susan eliminated it. My reasoning being that I wanted people to forget that there was a watch out there (though obviously the watch donor would remember. It didnt become an issue, so perhaps I was running when not being chased: Im still not sure about that).

At the end, when only two items remain, and because I do not want to be the one who eliminates the odd item, I resort to basic equivoque by asking the subject to pick up any of the remaining items: if she picks up the wrong item, I would ask her to return it to its owner (never had to, each time the subject picked up the prediction item). The key here is to have no hesitation in delivering the line: I want you to pick up any one of the remaining items [she does] and hand it to Carl [or its owneras necessary]. Had she picked the wrong item, after returning it to its owner I would then have her slide the remaining (correct) item over to Carl (who was selected only because he was sitting directly across from Susan) and have him read the prediction (remember, the prediction says she would present the item).

Both times, the reactions began even before the prediction was read, which I thought particularly cool (a soft chorus of No-no-no from a few in the room). The first time I did this, Susan later asked me how I knew she held time so precious. I didnt bother to tell her that I have never met anyone who didnt consider time a precious commodity. Youll also notice that even though I made it clear during our conversation that I was skeptical of paranormal abilities, Susan apparently still held a belief that I knew something as a result of something other than normal abilities. I honestly believe that my open skepticism takes nothing away from the effect. The viewers witness something impossible: explainable only by psychic phenomena, but yet I claim no such ability and in fact insist that it doesnt exist. Its a powerful mystery.

My way of doing this does eliminate a potentially stronger effect: the direct prediction of a selected item (first pick). However, I adapted my handling to the situation that I knew I would find myself in. This really is the hallmark of the type of magic found in Life Savers.

I have also done Powers of Dimness a few times over the years (which simply creeps people out) and I once did A Better Mousetrap to a What the hell? reaction. Needless to say, however, The Laying-On of Hands is my favorite piece in Life Savers.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5901
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 02/25/04 09:53 AM

In Magic and Meaning, Robert Neale has a great PATEO effect revolving around The Plague by Camus.

Isn't PATEO, point at two eliminate one?
Guest
 

Postby Guest » 02/25/04 10:49 AM

Dustin, I love to read stories like that.
You are a true magician...
Guest
 

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/25/04 08:33 PM

Yaniv: I know people who would argue with you, but I truly appreciate the kind words.

Warlockdrummer: The definition of the acronym PATEO I gave is the same one Mr. Weber uses in Life Savers (and references to a book by Ken DeCourceythough not by title). The version you give certainly fits the bill as well as the other.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5901
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby Guest » 02/26/04 04:26 AM

Thats a lovely example of a piece of pure magic, that those people will no doubt remember forever.

Originally posted by DustinStinett:
Its also worth noting that the first time there was a watch as well as the organizer, so I selected the watch among my first two items and Susan eliminated it. My reasoning being that I wanted people to forget that there was a watch out there (though obviously the watch donor would remember. It didnt become an issue, so perhaps I was running when not being chased: Im still not sure about that).
I wouldnt call that running. Id call that fine tuning you didnt add anything extra at all, you optimised the order of certain operations. Whenever it occurs to me, I do that sort of thing. Would most people call that running when not being chased? As is so often the case, I'm asking not in order to make a point, but simply out of curiosity.

Dave
Guest
 

Postby Max Maven » 02/26/04 03:45 PM

The PATEO Force has an inventor: Roy Baker. It first appeared, if memory serves, in the book "Baker's Bonanza" in 1968. I'm too lazy to locate my copy of the book, but I believe the acronym originally stood for "Pick Any Two, Eliminate One."
Max Maven
 
Posts: 365
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hollywood, CA

Postby Guest » 02/26/04 10:28 PM

In 1991, T.A. Waters pointed me in the direction of the final trick in the book, whose name I don't recall (One to Five? Five to One?) but which involves a five-dollar bill that is twisted into an origami ring and then turns into a one-dollar bill. T.A. advised me that it was great for restaurant work because it encouraged customers to tip you the five-dollar bill.

I may have confused the effect; it's been over a decade since I've looked at it.

I tried to work out the details, but found the instructions so confusing that I couldn't make head nor tails.

I was teaching a writing course in college at the time, and tried an experiment. I had everyone in class (about 25 people) take out a one-dollar bill. Then I read the origami-twisting instructions slowly. By the time I had reached the fourth step, everyone in the room was lost.

It was a lesson in the difficulty of writing good instructions.

Does anyone do this trick? Is it worth it?
Guest
 

Postby Edwin Corrie » 02/27/04 01:24 AM

For the PATEO force, see Ken de Courcy's appropriately titled booklet "33 Tricks with the PATEO Force". The force is by Roy Baker, but it seems it was Ken de Courcy who christened it with the acronym for "Point At Two, Eliminate One" - although I too remember learning it somewhere else as "Pick Any Two, Eliminate One". I used to have "Baker's Bonanza", and I think the description was hidden away in one of the tricks rather than being presented as a separate item.

As for the origami ring, people are likely to have trouble if they just follow the written instructions and have little or no experience with origami. I don't remember how it is diagrammed in "Life Savers", but for anyone who really wants to fold it there are instructions in any number of origami books that might be of some assistance. Rest assured, it is possible!
Edwin Corrie
 
Posts: 455
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Geneva, Switzerland

Postby Guest » 02/27/04 10:02 AM

One of my pet peeves when flying is having someone look over your shoulder so to speak trying to glance at/read what you are reading. I like my privacy and as such I love using the "wallpaper" ploy in a magazinie. I always have it ready so if someone is trying to read the magazine I am, I appear like I am looking under a skirt or the hood of a car (whatever looks best) and then put the magazine inside the "seat pocket". A few minutes later I will get up and go to the "head" and have actually looked back to see them picking up the magazine and looking through it because they saw me "look under the hood".

Gotta love revenge, freaking them out and making them lose sleep over it!

:eek: (The expression from Mr. Nosey)

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Albertsta
AB Stagecraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Supplying unique magic and mentalism world-wide
Guest
 

Postby Brian Morton » 02/27/04 09:41 PM

David Groves writes:
n 1991, T.A. Waters pointed me in the direction of the final trick in the book, whose name I don't recall (One to Five? Five to One?) but which involves a five-dollar bill that is twisted into an origami ring and then turns into a one-dollar bill. T.A. advised me that it was great for restaurant work because it encouraged customers to tip you the five-dollar bill.

Does anyone do this trick? Is it worth it?
The trick is called "Four Dollars In Change" and it is mindblowing to the spectator. In 1996 while doing advance work for a Cabinet member, I had fabricated the gaff and was toying with it on a trip to Tucson, AZ (the second leg of the trip led me to LA where I auditioned for Magic Castle membership).

The trick is actually a transposition. Spectator initials a fiver, you fold it into a ring and put it on their finger. Then you take out a one and by folding it and unfolding it, it turns into their initialed five and they turn over their hand to see their one dollar bill.

While in Tucson, I did this effect for every female waitress at every restaurant where I ate during the four-day stay, and while I wasn't given the five, I was certainly comped more than twice that in drinks. I later told Jamy Swiss of the routine -- sadly dated now: it had to do with Dan Rostenkowski (you had to be there) -- and he mused, "right...that's the best trick in that book."

So, suffice to say, the instructions can be read, the trick can be done, and minds can be (and are) blown by this trick. If it's hard to fathom, more power to me -- I've still got that gaff upstairs (and now I'm inclined to pull it out and re-write that presentation. :)

Any questions?

brian :cool:
User avatar
Brian Morton
 
Posts: 387
Joined: 03/12/08 11:43 AM
Location: Bawlamer, Merlin

Postby Alain Roy » 02/29/04 07:57 PM

I bought this book when Dustin announced it, then had no time to post anything.

I found the story in "Directory Assistants" slightly disturbing. He didn't realize in advance that calling random people in the middle of the night might be a poor idea? Oh well, I've made worse mistakes, and he did warn us so we won't make the mistake. :)

I appreciate the fact that he was clear about reserving his performance rights, while still granting improvisational performance rights to the reader. I appreciate it and will certainly follow it.

That said, does anywhere here know the law well enough to say if this has legal standing? (It has ethical standing, no doubt.) It seems iffy to claim all rights, given that, for example, a section of Stretching It comes directly from Chris Kenner. And how long do his rights last? Until the copyright expires? Until he retires? Until he dies? Given that we should follow the spirit of his request, these questions don't really matter, I'm just curious.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope that I can start using one or two of these effects. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Dustin!

-alain
Alain Roy
 
Posts: 134
Joined: 02/22/08 01:00 PM
Location: Sun Prairie, WI

Postby Dustin Stinett » 02/29/04 11:41 PM

The pleasure is mine Alain. In fact, hearing from people who search out some of these books because of the discussions that take place here gives me a great sense of accomplishment. And to think I used to hate doing book reports in school.

In regard to Mr. Webers legal/ethical admonishment: He is an attorney and he does occasionally work in the area of copyright law.

Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5901
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California


Return to Book of The Month Club