Flash paper closeup

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 05/25/03 01:32 AM

I recently added to new weekly restaurant/bar gigs to my schedule. They're both dimly lit establishments, and I find that flash paper makes a big impact. People turn around and say, "What was that?!" It advertises your schtick.

However, I'm not very experienced with flash paper. For example, a Los Angeles closeup worker told me that he uses lots of flash paper at each restaurant, but that he always goes away from the evening with burnt fingers. His fingers just get used to it over time, he says.

Is this really necessary? If you're going to transform a flash into something (a coin, a sponge ball, etc.), do you really have to burn your fingers?

I've contemplated making smaller strips of flash paper so that the flame doesn't gain a lot of steam, and wonder if that's going to make a difference.

It's not impressive if you burn the paper and then toss it away at the last moment. The flame goes flying, and that's dangerous and scary, isn't it?

Is there any masterwork on the use of flash paper? I've never seen any written material on the stuff.

It occurs to me that flash paper is dangerous, too. Magic dudes tend to be complacent about it, but aren't there fires that have been started by the injudicious use of flash paper? And by direct sunlight shining on flash paper in a hot car?
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Postby Jonathan Levey » 05/25/03 02:32 AM

26th May 2003

Mr Groves,
I am not to sure why your friend is burning and ultimatly ruining his fingers for the sake of a bit of flash paper. But if you use it sensibly and carefully you should not be getting burns on your fingers. It is quite normal to feel a certain amount of heat on your hand, but definetly not a burning feeling.
It is common that accidents occur while practicing and you may experience a slight burn here and there, but you shouldn't being burning your fingers everytime you are using it, espicially whilst performing infront of spectators at a restaraunt.
Good luck with it and stay safe!
Sincerely,
Jonathan
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Postby Guest » 05/25/03 04:10 AM

David,
There's no reason that anyone should be burning their fingers on flash paper, unless the paper is old and very dry (in that case, it burns more slowly).

Flash paper (and flash cotton and flash string, etc.) is, indeed, dangerous!

It is, after all, a low-grade explosive (note that it cannot be legally sent through the mail in most jurisdictions). It can and has ignited after being left in a vehicle, where it heated up. And it certainly can start a fire or do serious injury is not handled correctly.

Any decent performer will warn you about trying to make your own (don't do it!).

It is dangerous stuff but very effective if handled properly.

A little common sense goes a long way, with flash paper!
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Postby Guest » 05/25/03 01:24 PM

Originally posted by Jonathan Rubel:
It is quite normal to feel a certain amount of heat on your hand, but definetly not a burning feeling.
Flash paper is commonly sold in small stapled pads. Perhaps Lou and I should use a smaller strip, perhaps half the normal size or less? The fire seems to get more intense the longer it burns.

And I should be holding it between my two fingers when I light it, right?

I don't know what else could be going wrong.
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Postby Guest » 05/25/03 02:22 PM

Dave, if I'm reading correctly between the lines, it sounds as if you're not crumpling the flashpaper into a loose ball. Can you do this and still achieve the effect you're creating? A crumpled ball of flashpaper burns much more rapidly, and therefore safely (and also dramatically), than a strip burning from one end to the other. The flash is bigger but is gone so quickly that it (usually) doesn't have time to burn you.
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Postby Guest » 05/26/03 01:56 AM

Originally posted by Ralph Bonheim:
Dave, if I'm reading correctly between the lines, it sounds as if you're not crumpling the flashpaper into a loose ball.
Thanks, I will try that.
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Postby David Acer » 05/27/03 08:19 PM

Hi David,

Here's a trick from a long (long!) out-of-print set of lecture notes from Richard Sanders, called Make Believe (circa 1986). It uses flash paper and it's guaranteed not to singe your digits (I used it in my own restaurant work for years).

The magician has a card chosen, signed, then returned to the pack, whereupon a slip of paper, which has been resting on the table from the outset, is unfolded, revealing the name of the chosen card. This, however, only predicts the card, not the signature, so the magician tosses the slip into a glass, then picks up the glass and waves a lighter beneath it, causing the slip to burst into flame and transform into a folded card! The card is tipped out of the glass, then unfolded, showing it to be the signed selection!

The method is to prepare a glass by drilling a small hole through the bottom (alternatively, you could simply use a regular glass and toss a match inside at the critical moment - perhaps not as aesthetically pleasing, but certainly functional).

The card is forced, stolen from the pack, folded into sixths while palmed, then secured in a classic palm.

The prediction is (of course) made on a slip of flash paper, and once it is dropped in the glass, the hand with the classic-palmed, folded card picks it up by the mouth. A lighter is waved beneath the glass, and when the flash paper catches, you release the classic-palmed card. The transformation is quite striking.
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 01:46 AM

That sounds very nice, David, like all of Richard's material. You're sure the heat doesn't rise and burn the hand that's holding the glass?
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 02:04 AM

I misread David Acer's post, and, as sometimes happens, that resulted in a different method.

Instead of drilling a small hole in the base of the glass, cut off the entire base. Then the left hand holding the folded card picks the glass up at the base, the right hand chucks in the flash paper and then a lit match, the left hand tips the glass over and the folded card falls out. Voila!

This avoids the postulated problem of burning the hand above the glass. But if that wouldn't be a problem, then the original method is neater.

By the way, is it the effect that's called Make Believe, or the lecture notes?

Dave
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Postby David Acer » 05/28/03 09:28 AM

David G., you're right - I forgot to mention that, the instant you release the palmed card, your hand (which is holding the glass from above) swivels around to the side, using your thumb and second finger as the pivot points. As such, the burst of flame doesn't singe your palm.

Dave L., the lecture notes were (are) called Make Believe - I can't remember the name of the trick. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 10:05 AM

Thanks David A, I merely wondered about the name. It really couldn't be of less importance.

I've noticed that there are one or two people in this thread whose name isn't David. Are the three of us gonna permit these intrusions?

Dave LeF
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 11:05 AM

David Copperfield: Arguably the most "successful" illusionist of all time.

David Verner (Dai Vernon): Arguably the "greatest" magician of all time.

Hmmmm.

I purposely left out you know who as I consider him a street "entertainer" rather than a real street "magician."
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Postby Guest » 05/28/03 12:05 PM

From one David to another, a few pesky questions occur: Does the flame ever crack or permanently char the glass? And is the drilled hole in the bottom to stick something hot through, so that it will ignite? And when was the last time you held a flounder against your cheek? :D
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Postby Robert McDaniel » 05/28/03 05:58 PM

I can't resist mentioning the trick "In a Flash" by Jay Sankey. To me, this a beautiful card trick the uses flash paper, and is very impressive. I know it's a simple and somewhat transparent trick to magicians, but... this is a killer for lay audiences.

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Postby David Acer » 05/31/03 08:19 AM

David G, the glass I made in 1987 remains intact to this day, and the drilled hole in the bottom need only be large enough so that the flame from a lighter can lick up through the hole and ignite the flash paper. Alternatively (as I mentioned before), you can use a regular glass, and while you're holding the glass from above with your left hand, your right hand tosses a match inside through the gap beneath your left palm.

Robert, I think "In A Flash" is among the most commercial tricks Jay has ever put out, though we have all (including Jay) since learned that the plot was actually originated by Bob Farmer in the early eighties and published in The Linking Ring.
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Postby Guest » 06/05/03 01:58 AM

Thank you, Mr. Acer. I have experimented with flash paper in a drinking glass, and it significantly changes the flash, making it whoosh upward in an impressive, quick flame. Pretty neat.

I still can't fool people by dropping the palmed card into the glass, but I can perform Shriek of the Mutilated that way, and it works beautifully. Thx.
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Postby Guest » 06/06/03 04:26 PM

Hello, I was thinking about the effect from the make believe notes that David (acer) mentioned, and was trying to come up with an inpromptu method that dodn't resort to dropping a match in through the fingers of the hand holding the glass. The action felt a little awkward and having the match in the glass at the end just seemed a little less clean than having only the card in the glass after the flash. Maybee someone can use this (I dunno??!!??)
Anyway, a brandy snifter with a wide mouth or a wine glass is prefferable. Anyway, the right hand with the palmed card holds the glass while the left hand holds the lighter under the glass. The glass is held horizontally. A black char spot will apear on the side of the glass, and after 10 or 15 seconds this spot will be very hot. Much longer than this and the glass may crack. You could say you're making a black hole or setting up an ancient alchemical experiment...whatever. The rest of the glass remains relatively cool. The crumpled up flash paper is placed in the glass so that is not in contact with the black spot and the right hand takes the glass from above as per David's description with the folded card in classic palm. Shake the glass to rattle the flash paper wad against the sides. When it comes in contact with the super heated black spot it will burst into flames (seemingly on its own) and the card is dropped into the glass.
After the card is dumped out, make no attempt to wipe off the smear or cool down the glass because it will crack. The glass must cool naturally first, then the smear can be wiped off. The original version is still probably the best, especially if your going to do this several times a night with the same glass. But as a "one off" I think this is kind of neat.

Jer. ;)
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Postby Guest » 06/06/03 04:28 PM

Hello, I was thinking about the effect from the make believe notes that David (acer) mentioned, and was trying to come up with an inpromptu method that dodn't resort to dropping a match in through the fingers of the hand holding the glass. The action felt a little awkward and having the match in the glass at the end just seemed a little less clean than having only the card in the glass after the flash. Maybee someone can use this (I dunno??!!??)
Anyway, a brandy snifter with a wide mouth or a wine glass is prefferable. Anyway, the right hand with the palmed card holds the glass while the left hand holds the lighter under the glass. The glass is held horizontally. A black char spot will apear on the side of the glass, and after 10 or 15 seconds this spot will be very hot. Much longer than this and the glass may crack. You could say you're making a black hole or setting up an ancient alchemical experiment...whatever. The rest of the glass remains relatively cool. The crumpled up flash paper is placed in the glass so that is not in contact with the black spot and the right hand takes the glass from above as per David's description with the folded card in classic palm. Shake the glass to rattle the flash paper wad against the sides. When it comes in contact with the super heated black spot it will burst into flames (seemingly on its own) and the card is dropped into the glass.
After the card is dumped out, make no attempt to wipe off the smear or cool down the glass because it will crack. The glass must cool naturally first, then the smear can be wiped off. The original version is still probably the best, especially if your going to do this several times a night with the same glass. But as a "one off" I think this is kind of neat.

Jer. ;)
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Postby Guest » 06/06/03 04:28 PM

Hello, I was thinking about the effect from the make believe notes that David (acer) mentioned, and was trying to come up with an inpromptu method that dodn't resort to dropping a match in through the fingers of the hand holding the glass. The action felt a little awkward and having the match in the glass at the end just seemed a little less clean than having only the card in the glass after the flash. Maybee someone can use this (I dunno??!!??)
Anyway, a brandy snifter with a wide mouth or a wine glass is prefferable. Anyway, the right hand with the palmed card holds the glass while the left hand holds the lighter under the glass. The glass is held horizontally. A black char spot will apear on the side of the glass, and after 10 or 15 seconds this spot will be very hot. Much longer than this and the glass may crack. You could say you're making a black hole or setting up an ancient alchemical experiment...whatever. The rest of the glass remains relatively cool. The crumpled up flash paper is placed in the glass so that is not in contact with the black spot and the right hand takes the glass from above as per David's description with the folded card in classic palm. Shake the glass to rattle the flash paper wad against the sides. When it comes in contact with the super heated black spot it will burst into flames (seemingly on its own) and the card is dropped into the glass.
After the card is dumped out, make no attempt to wipe off the smear or cool down the glass because it will crack. The glass must cool naturally first, then the smear can be wiped off. The original version is still probably the best, especially if your going to do this several times a night with the same glass. But as a "one off" I think this is kind of neat.

Jer. ;)
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Postby Jonathan Levey » 06/07/03 01:36 AM

07th May 2003

Ahhh jer, I don't think I understand, can you post it again. :D
Thanks,
Jonathan
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Postby Guest » 06/07/03 01:22 PM

Sorry, not quite sure how that happened. Anyone interested in this idea can read about it in my upcomming400 pg booklet. Over...and over...and over..... it'll be called "Beating a dead horse" :whack:
Jer.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/07/03 03:35 PM

One of the first tricks I ever did, XX years ago... was to borrow a dime, wrap it in flash paper (switch for a similar looking packet containing a penny with "I-O-U 9 Cents" written on the paper under the penny.

Put into an ashtray, light a match, blow out the match, touch the paper... it ignites and the dime is now a penny. Push penny aside and read the message.

We also did this with the packet resting on the palm, the flash paper does not burn your hand owing to the penny being inside keeping the under piece of paper from burning.
Stay tooned.
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Postby Pete Biro » 06/07/03 03:37 PM

Regarding the card trick above... seems to me you could have a wine glass, put in a pretty good size (6x6 inches) piece of crumbled flash paper.

Toss a match into it and AS the paper flashes/burns plop the hand over it "to put out the flame" dropping the palmed card in.

?? would this be an easy way ??

:confused: :eek: :confused: :eek: :confused:
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Postby Guest » 06/11/03 01:02 PM

Frank Stone's Voodoo Boy is one of my favorite tricks using FP...

Check it out: http://www.online-visions.com/effects/0 ... oboyt.html


I get this requested nearly every night from my regulars!
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Postby Philippe Billot » 11/23/05 02:20 AM

I realise that more than two years have passed but as I'm actually working on the Arcane index (a french magazine), I can tell you than Richard Sanders was in France in 1986, more accurately at Lyon, the 5th may 1986, for a lecture and his trick was entitled in french "Attention ! Prdiction inflammable". That's to say in english
"Caution! Flammable Prediction ".
It's my translation because I haven't his notes in english.
Hope this help.
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