Lids by Rick Johnsson

Discuss the views of your favorite Genii columnists.

Postby Guest » 12/29/04 09:53 PM

Years ago in the 80,s Rick had an effect that included lids of different sizes from jars.
It involved a close up mat and an invisible coin that ends up under the smallest lid or cap visually.Do anyone know what I am talking about?And if you do tell me where I can get this effect again.I WANT IT,I WANT IT,I WANT IT. :help:
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Postby Guest » 12/29/04 10:28 PM

Tommy Wonder does a simillar effect on one of his videos. He uses a cough drop as the finish. Mike
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Postby Curtis Kam » 12/30/04 01:33 PM

I don't know if the effect is available anymore, but in his notes, Rick said that the lids could be obtained from any store selling the apparatus for bottling you own fruits and preserves. The lids of many sizes were supposed to be readily available from this sort of place.

At the time, I had never been in such a place, and I doubt there's any here in Hawaii. But that was back before the internet.

Tommy Wonder's routine is standup, and features not only a solid and funny plot, but a method for loading the nested lids that is typically ingenious, albeit a bit difficult to assemble.
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Postby Jeffrey Cowan » 12/30/04 03:18 PM

I made this trick up as a teenager. I followed Rick's advice in the column and assembled the "parts" by trying out and raiding the various jar lids that my mother had in the pantry.

The big problems with the trick, however, is that it requires sittting down, at least as Rick wrote it up. I'd encourage you to read Tommy Wonder's version, which is in his manuscript on the cups and balls. It was published by some guy in Idaho who is a big favorite on this board. Perhaps Richard Hatch at H&R books has it.
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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/07/05 12:30 PM

I have found my props and have placed them on e-bay http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6544764198&ssPageName=ADME:B:LC:UK:1>http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6544764198&ssPageName=ADME:B:LC:UK :1
as I only had a couple of practices with them so did not perform the effect, good as it is, because it was not convenient
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Postby Steve Hook » 07/07/05 02:10 PM

Aloha, Curtis:

You can definitely buy canning supplies on Oahu. How else you going get da mango chutney and kumquat preserves, brah?

Steve
:-)
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Postby Curtis Kam » 07/07/05 02:22 PM

Howyoufigga, Steve, when all kama'aina know dat mango chutney only comes in two sizes: Punahou carnival and Samoan. :)
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Postby Steve Hook » 07/07/05 07:29 PM

But dey bote get da kine lids, yeah?
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Postby Kent Blackmore » 07/07/05 08:18 PM

It doesn't seem to have been mentioned previously that the routine is published in a "Linking Ring" magazine (Rick's column was 'Come A Little Closer'.) Maybe someone with the IBM's searchable CD of the Linking Ring could hunt down the trick for you.
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Postby Guest » 07/10/05 09:01 PM

Harry,
Years ago, Paul Gertner tracked down the lids and was selling them. I'm going back about 25 years. He might be willing to tell you where he located the lids.
Frank
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/11/05 07:37 AM

For what it's worth, those lids remind me of lids from specimen bottles, for pickling bugs, fetal pigs, etc. You might check with a lab supply.
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Postby Tabman » 07/11/05 08:45 AM

I remember Rick from many years ago and if memory serves I believe he did work in the medical field or a medical lab at one point.

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Postby Max Maven » 07/11/05 01:43 PM

Originally posted by -=tabman:
I remember Rick from many years ago and if memory serves I believe he did work in the medical field or a medical lab at one point.
Nope. He taught at a college of restaurant management -- probably an even better source for lids.
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Postby Tabman » 07/11/05 02:32 PM

That's right. Was it in North Carolina someplace???

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Postby Anthony Brahams » 07/11/05 02:40 PM

Yes, it was N Carolina, Ash????
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Postby Tabman » 07/11/05 03:22 PM

Ashville!!! I think thats right. That was a long time ago.

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Postby Steve Hook » 07/11/05 04:08 PM

Asheville, NC

What great memories of Rick's lectures in the magic basement of Dick Snavely in Raleigh.

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Postby Bill Wells » 07/11/05 05:36 PM

The training motel at the school where Rick taught had 12 rooms - so Rick would invite 24 people to his Super Session South weekend convention. Everyone in attendance performed. Since a training kitchen was part of the facility, we also had great food...a Carolina Pig Pulling was usually the featured meal of the weekend. All attendees and Rick contributed an effect to a publication which went out to all attendees after the convention. Probably the best magic conventions I ever attended.
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/11/05 07:23 PM

Rick Johnnson sounds like quite a guy! I attended a lecture of his at the PCAM convention in Monterey, CA in the early 1970's. I remember being impressed as I bought his lecture notes and the only other notes I bought way back then were Sid Lorraines notes (I still have both, Sid's notes autographed). Rick Johnssons work was highly performable. Sadly I lost the notes I took at the time which included some sort of prediction effect with the then new pocket calculators. I could be wrong but I think Rick also tipped a homemade gimmic which allowed hand firing of the Kodak MagiCube flashcubes. I'm looking at his lecture notes as I write this. A series of tricks run off on the old 'ditto' paper, purple ink on white paper. On the back of the folder they came in is an endorsement from Sid Lorraine:

"An evening with him is a laugh filled occasion. He's a zany, amusing fellow with clever ideas, and above all he's entertaining. He could make a lousy trick popular."

Cover art for the folder has a drawing of a hand holding a straight flush out to a rather evil looking 'joker', done by "Volk". I wonder who Volk was?

That was the only convention I attended as a kid and it was, as they say, epic. Paul Diamond, looking a lot like a Von Dutch/Ed Roth character, gave a late night lecture and explained how it was critical to stretch out the Fantasio/Walsh disappearing items "as loose as a goose" to get them to disappear fastest. Vic Torsberg demonstrated the Needle Through Arm at Bumas booth in the dealer room. Andre Kole did a stage show on site. And off site there was a show at the Naval Post Graduate school. The only trick from that variety show which sticks is my mind was the "floating balloon" which later became the "balloon to cannonball", done by someone I can't quite recall, dressed up as a Pasha or Shiek. To this day it sticks is my mind as a *perfect* definition of "misdirection". I'm sure he fooled a large part of the magicians in the audience. Anyone know who it was?
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Postby Guest » 07/11/05 09:26 PM

Excelsior, Rick! --Asrah
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Postby Philippe Billot » 07/12/05 11:24 AM

I think I have found Rick's Trick

You are right Ken, It's in The Linking Ring Vol 57, N1, Jan 1977, page 74 under the title :

Look ! E's Flipped his Lid
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Postby Max Maven » 07/12/05 12:56 PM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:
The only trick from that variety show which sticks is my mind was the "floating balloon" which later became the "balloon to cannonball", done by someone I can't quite recall, dressed up as a Pasha or Shiek. To this day it sticks is my mind as a *perfect* definition of "misdirection". I'm sure he fooled a large part of the magicians in the audience. Anyone know who it was?
It was Rick Johnsson.
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/12/05 06:21 PM

Wow. I guess that makes sense. Interesting that that's the only performance from that night that I recall 30 years later. I can't even remember what Rick Johnsson looked like. But I remember that trick. Now that I think about it the staging is identical to the vanishing duck trick I saw Penn & Teller do about 10 years ago. I wonder if they got the idead from R.J. or if there's a common ancestor, or if it's just what any thinking magician would come up with under the circumstances.

For those who didn't see it: the magician comes out on stage. I think it was a silent act with music. He's dressed up in robes and a hat/turban. His assistant comes out on the opposite side of the stage. I can't recall her exactly but I'm sure she was wearing some sort of skimpy costume. She puts up a card on the easel which says "The Amazing Floating Balloon". The magician slowly and with great flourishes inflates a large black balloon and places it in the palm of his hand. He waves his hands and then, slowly turns the hand holding the balloon upside down and the balloon 'adhere's to his hand, thus "floating". He makes a few gestures around it to show there no wires, etc. It's quite apparent that he's holding the tied off stem of the balloon clipped between his fingers. No one in the audience (of magicians) is impressed. Then his (scantily clad) assistant comes out with another sign that she places over the first one. This one says "The Amazing Balloon to Cannonball". Well you can guess how this turns out. The magician, after looking peeved, then thoughtful, looks at the balloon in his hand..., peels off the stem, and drops it on the floor. It's a cannonball.

That got a LOT of applause. I think it may have been the opening act, but can't recall.
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Postby Max Maven » 07/13/05 12:31 PM

Your recollection is close, but not quite right.

In the "pasha" act, Rick (who was heavy set with a beard) wore a caftan and a fez. His assistant (played by his wife) wore some sort of dress; it was not "skimpy."

The act was structured thusly: Rick would perform (silently) to music ("The Baby Elephant Walk"). Every now and then, the music would abruptly change to something more ethereal. Rick would freeze in position, while the assistant brought out a new signboard announcing the next trick, and placed it onto an easel. She'd leave, the "Elephant" music would resume, and Rick would reanimate and proceed with the next routine.

After his wife brought on the "Balloon to Cannonball" sign, when his music resumed, Rick would look at the sign, then act as if the black balloon had suddenly gotten very heavy (i.e., turned into a cannonball). This got great laughs, as the audience assumed it was a mime gag. Then he'd pluck off the tied end of the balloon, and drop the ball to the stage, where it landed with a resouding thunk.

The reason I remember this clearly is in part because Rick was a good friend, but also because I was inadvertently the source of the trick. At the Tannen Jubilee in 1974, Paul Curry told me of several unsolved plots he'd devised over the years. One that particularly amused me was this: Magician inflates balloon. He takes a pin, pops the balloon, and out falls a bowling ball.

I thought this image was hysterical, and with Paul's permission I described it to Rick, with no thought that he'd ever attempt to solve it. Less than a year later, he had developed the "Balloon to Cannonball" variation.
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Postby Michael E. Abston » 07/31/05 02:29 AM

I had the pleasure of working with Rick a few times in the 70's. He was one of my favorite magicians and is still today. I was in college at Middle Tenn State Univ in 1976 when the special events office asked me if I could do a 2 1/2 hour show. I thought they were nuts! It turned out that they had booked David Copperfield for their spring arts festival and he had to cancel. They still wanted a magic show and I was the only magician/student on campus. I talked them into a variety magic show. They gave me a budget and a watts line and I was off. It would never had come together with out the generous help of Rick, Dick Snavely and others. We got a great show for the school: Rick was the MC (as only he could do!) Opening act: Ron Conley of Myrtle Beach, doing his manipulation act including his famous billiard balls - amazing. 2nd act David Ginn with his "Red White and Magic' show (lay people gotta see doves!) and the final act of the first half - the Great J. C. Doty? doing his drunk act -brought the house down!. After intermission Rick did his "Pixilated Pasha' act and had them crying and holding their sides. In front of the curtain, the 2nd act was Col. Bill Boley of Hopkinsville, Ky., one of the best Vent acts ever and for the finale, Vince Carmen and his illusions. The show was a huge success and was the talk of the campus for quite a while! (I wish that some magic conventions had a line up this varied and strong!) I could not have done it with out Rick spending many an hour on the phove with me, throwing out names of acts and me trying to see if they were availible for the money I had. A truer gentleman and zany mind I have never met and I miss him. Sorry for going on so long but I had to share.
Mike Abston
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Postby Michael E. Abston » 07/31/05 02:31 AM

Oh, I forget..........Rick had his column in Linking Ring for quite a while. Does anyone know ir there is any plans to publish the articles into a book? It would be a HUGE seller.
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Now I'll be quiet!
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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 07/31/05 03:33 PM

He DID publish a book in the late 70's, early 80's I think. I don't know if it was a collection of columns, but it included some great stuff. An impressive feature of the book is that the back was an easel...so it stood all by itself.What a great idea!!

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Postby Robert Allen » 07/31/05 03:43 PM

Well (hint hint Richard Kaufman) I'd buy a book of Rick Johnssons collected works sight unseen for the going rate for a hardcover magic book to add to my libary of K & G books. Seriously. It would be a good sales prospect IMHO because Ricks magic was both emimently performable but also becuase he had some very good insights into what made good magic. Add someone like Max Maven as editor and pimp it with some advertisement and I think it would sell.

Even if I never performed a single item from it it would be an excellent reference. I volunteer my copy of Ricks Lecture notes circa 1974 with about 6+ tricks in it. There was one more with a (then new) pocket calculator which I used to have notes for, not sure if I still do. I wish I still had my photos from back then but they were lost forever in a move :( :(
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Postby Guest » 07/31/05 04:25 PM

Originally posted by Robert Allen:

That was the only convention I attended as a kid and it was, as they say, epic. Vic Torsberg demonstrated the Needle Through Arm at Bumas booth in the dealer room.
Hi Robert!
That was Vic Kirk demonstrating the "Needle Thru the Arm". He was a regular at "The House of Magic" for years and years, and a close friend of Buma's. Vic was also just about the best all-around magician I've ever seen, as most anyone who knew him will confirm. I learned more magic from Vic on a Saturday afternoon, ANY Saturday afternoon, than from any five lectures I can think of, combined. He came in every Saturday, (unless he'd booked a show or was out on a cruise), with his lovely wife and fabulous assistant, Mary. We would talk magic, Vic would look at whatever had come in during the week, and I'd get an education, and have a ton of fun. Vic died a couple of years ago, much too early. I lost a good friend, and so did magic...

Best, PSC
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Postby Robert Allen » 07/31/05 05:21 PM

Ahh, sorry for mis-remembering, thanks for the correction.

This 'people dieing too young' thing has to stop damnit :( .
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Postby Steve Hook » 07/31/05 07:33 PM

Originally posted by Adrian Kuiper:
He DID publish a book in the late 70's, early 80's I think. I don't know if it was a collection of columns, but it included some great stuff. An impressive feature of the book is that the back was an easel...so it stood all by itself.What a great idea!!
I have a signed copy of the book, PRACTICAL IMPOSSIBILITIES, and it is comprised of material that did not appear in the Linking Ring columns.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 08/01/05 06:20 AM

[/qb][/QUOTE]I have a signed copy of the book, PRACTICAL IMPOSSIBILITIES, and it is comprised of material that did not appear in the Linking Ring columns. [/QB][/QUOTE]

This book was edited in 1976.

To update my files, could you tell me the number of pages and the name of the editor, please ?
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Postby MitchSchneiter » 08/17/05 09:55 PM

The book is 108 pages and was edited by Ellison Poland.
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Postby Philippe Billot » 08/18/05 01:42 PM

Thanks for the info
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Postby Guest » 08/26/05 10:37 AM

Although I am new here, I am not so new to magic.

This is one that I only recently shared with other magicians. I remember first reading about it in Mr. Johnson's columns.

From the response, most hand not seen or heard of it. The best place to hide a great routine is in an old magazine or book. (People go for easy fixes in DVD's these day..That doesn't mean there isn't great stuff in DVD's as well)

I call it "poor mans" explosion.(coin reference)

One set of my lids were painted by students. The other I left in the original white.

I don't use the holder in my routine.

It is a fun and nearly normal plot.

Be safe, well and creative.

Harris
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