Favorite non-cliche trick

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Doug Conn » 07/25/01 03:21 PM

In an effort to distract some attention from the pasteboards (don't get me wrong, I love cards, just looking to broaden this 'forum') I'd like to hear some opinions on favorite effects that don't use cards. Heck, let's make it interesting: no cards, coins, cups, balls, rubberbands, tips/silks, biz cards bills or sponge. Anyone have a fave trick that does not use one of the above? (Note: Fave trick = one that you actually use/perform for the real world.)

Eliminating those props makes this a tough question eh?

As I (mentally) scan my repetoire, I realize that all of my 'working' material fits into one of the above categories.
So, I have no answer for this question...
Do you?

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Postby Bill Mullins » 07/25/01 03:38 PM

How about tricks based on manipulating the body? Balducci levitation, Meir Yedid's stuff, even pulling your finger in two for the four year old nephew . . .

I get lots of mileage out of "breaking" my nose (actually popping my thumbnail on my teeth while appearing to push my nose sideways) -- not as strong as killer sleight of hand, but it packs flat . . .

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Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/25/01 04:26 PM

I second the motion on Yedid's finger magic.

I also use a bit (from AH-HA by David Harkey and Eric Anderson) in which the pinky of a small child is apparently removed from their hand, then reattached.

I haven't performed Sankey's trick with the broken credit card published last year, but it would fit your criteria.

Lots of mentalism fits. I perform Maven's AUTOME book test and it is strong. Wait -- it uses a card move. Never mind.

How about gray elephants in Denmark?

Harlan's Starcle is also a nice bit with just a torn napkin.

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Postby Matthew Field » 07/25/01 04:28 PM

I perform "Black and White Surprise" (the changing-color brass poker chips) with a different presentation -- no sucker moves.

I also do "Devil's Spheres" where three small ball-bearings are placed in the fist and are "squeezed" into one giant ball-bearing which is dropped (thud!) on the table.

And I'm fond of the trick in which a half-dollar penetrates a metal (or glass) plate in a small wooden box with a slot in the top and bottom. The slow movement of the coin "through" the plate is great.

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Postby Guest » 07/25/01 07:00 PM

I regularly use the standard "Magic Square" effect (4 X 4 grid where horizontal, vertical and diagonals add up to a chosen number)on the back of my business card.
Powerful effect simple to perform.

Postby Guest » 07/25/01 08:21 PM

One effect that I regulary use is Shriek of the Mutilated, a John Bannon trick published in Impossilia. A very simple and effective torn and restored cigarette paper using flash paper. A new effect that I'm working on is a floating ring with Yigal Mesika's "Loop" (elastic invisible thread).

Postby Guest » 07/25/01 08:28 PM

Nice question, Mr. Conn!
I have had quite a good time with finger ring manipulation, similar to what is presented in Greg Wilson's "On the Spot" video. More stunt-like than true "magic" but, entertaining nonetheless.
Along the same lines, magic of opportunity is always fun. An example of this would be "put-pocketing" (placing an object in a specs pocket without knowledge) of a variety of objects at hand, and causing said object to "travel" to location.

Postby Eric DeCamps » 07/25/01 11:12 PM

Great question Doug!

This is certainly a question that I have given plenty of thought and consideration in my in work.

In my walk around repertoire I would unequivocally state that my adaptation of the Leipzig Cigar routine is possibly the strongest routine I do for that venue. Although I must add that my ring and string routine comes in a close second.

As far as for Formal Close Up or Intimate Parlor routines go, I must admit that the piece that I perform that seems to receive the most reaction and most praise after my performance is my interpretation of Rene LaVands masterpiece, "The Three Bread Crumbs". The mutual feeling that is shared when this routine is performed correctly and the proper emotional connection is made with the members of the audience is unique unto itself. Without a doubt I have never experienced that type of reaction with any other performance piece I have ever done.

Doug, as a final note, I would just like to mention I enjoyed your book. I have only had the pleasure of seeing you perform once a few years back at the Louisiana Convention held in New Orleans. I was very impressed with the construction, fine execution and thought that you put in your performance. Much continued success.


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Postby Guest » 07/26/01 01:34 AM

I have a feeling I'm making it in a loophole, but I'm going to have to say a simple cut and restore rope- simple, easy to follow, visual, easy to fit to your own storyline/personality.

It's a little bigger than some of the other pieces mentioned here, but I always bring it to walkaround gigs. Always a big hit.


Postby Richard Tremblay » 07/26/01 08:03 AM

I've been using Sankey's Exodus with great response from the audience: The content of a pack of sugar is poured into your fist then the spectator, using a marker pen as a wand, tap your hand. The sugar dissapear and reappear in the cap of the marker.

This is a trick that I use in noisy situation because even if the spectator cannot hear you, the magic is very clear and the image of the sugar pouring from the cap is strong.

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Postby James » 07/26/01 06:46 PM

My two favorites are:

Daryl's sound trasnposition -- the one where he transposes the "squeak" and "rattle" from two chidlren's toys.

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Postby Guest » 07/31/01 02:43 PM

"...I'm only gonna cheat a little." by saying Shape of Astonishment, in which I do use a coin. The effect is not about the coin, however, it is about the foil.

I also kill with the needle through matchbox. It's all in the presentation and bringing that human touch to an otherwise smartallicy puzzle.

These, of course, are method or prop centric thoughts. If one considers presentation, then clich takes on a whole new meaning and subtext. One that is much more adhesive to performers.

Tom Cutts

Postby Jim Morton » 07/31/01 03:15 PM

I occasionally do the sugar vanish with the sugar cube kicker. It's from The Art of Astonishment (Vol 1, I think). The original effect is attributed to Brad Stine.
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Postby Guest » 07/31/01 09:23 PM

That was a great question.
One of the things that I do behind the bar is vanish a salt shaker and have it re-appear under the chair of the customer. It's really easy when you have the help of a waitress to put the duplicate shaker under the chair.
I also will mark a cocktail napkin, vanish it and have it return to the top of the stack.
After marking it, I do a double lift and vanish the napkin with out the marking. Turn over the top napkin and show the mark has re-appeared.
Sometimes I'll have the customer sign the napkin before vanishing it.

Postby Doug Conn » 08/01/01 12:32 AM

Ah, thought of one:

Slydini's Knotted Silks

A trick I learned a few months ago. It escaped my memory when I made the post (It's just recently earned a spot it 'the jacket'.) I still need to put in some thought on the trick, but for now, it's earned a spot as 'a worker'

I'm tempted to sing the virtues of this effect, but you'll have to 'discover' them for yourself.

I discovered it via: Jim Cellini
(Cellini = a living legend: when I think of the word 'magician' I think of him. Anyone else is second place...)

Anyway, for those interested in the trick:
The new L&L offering: “Annotated Slydini” has lots of good clear info on the trick. If you're really interested in learning it, you should also consult the Fulves books (2 Volumes.) Best case scenario, a master of the trick (like Cellini) will capture the effect on video for all to see… We should be so lucky ;) When I saw him do the trick, it was the first time in a long time that I felt as though I was watching magic… real magic...

btw: if you chose to do this trick, please practice till your fingers bleeed. It (and Slydini) deserve it.

I've blabbed enough (I suppose it's because I care so much about this effect.)

Best wishes,

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Postby Guest » 08/02/01 11:42 PM

Shriek of the Mutilated by John Bannon has done wonders for me for the last four years, give it a nice story and some personal touches and you have an entertaining miracle.

Postby Curtis Kam » 08/02/01 11:51 PM

Speaking of Bannon's "Shriek" I think you might like my VooDoo Curse, which is a presentation and slight refinement of "Shriek" that allows you to do the whole thing with a (essentially) signed cigarette paper.

Our moderator shot the routine for possible inclusion in the Looking Glass, or maybe Genii, but he's had a lot on his plate recently. If you'reinterested, maybe you could bug him to publish the thing.
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Postby Jeff Haas » 08/03/01 01:24 AM

Curtis, that sounds like something I'd really like to see.

Richard, can you consider putting this in Genii sometime soon? I'll even write up an explanation of that palming technique I promised you a year ago, in exchange.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 08/03/01 12:01 PM

Curtis' handling of "Shriek of the Mutilated" is superb, and as I've mentioned recently in Genii, the overload of columnists kept a lot of the great magic I've collected from seeing print. I'm trying to remedy that each month, by putting one or two of these great items in print.
Frankly, I can't remember what's in the September Magicana at the moment! But, since I just finished the October Magicana, I can recall that it contains Akira Fujii's Coins Across routine with the Muscle Pass (this is hot damn stuff, particularly the Click Pass with the Muscle Pass). It also contains a fantastic routine a guy in Rome gave me a few years ago where a signed card ends up sewn to the lining of your jacket!
I will try to print Curtis' routine in the December Magicana. (November is all new material from Harry Lorayne--he's also on the cover.) :)
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Postby Guest » 08/03/01 11:38 PM

I can't believe you're tipping Mr. Fujii's Coins Across!!! I'm so glad I'm a subscriber (kiss-kiss).

Omigawd! He performed this at the A-1 Convention -- the Jerry Camaro memorial organized by R. Paul & others -- and it absolutely melted the audience. One of the most magical things I've ever witnessed.

By the way, Richard, a question about the content of the Earl Nelson article. By chance I was at the Castle and ran into the co-author of the piece. She wanted to meet my compadre, Jason England, because as she said "I wanted to meet Earl Nelson's favorite magician."

That quote is nowhere to be found in the article. Was it cut because Jason is not a well-known magish? Obviously you needn't explain one of your thousands of editorial decisions, but I know this one would have
tickled at least one serious amateur. (And probably Jason also.)

Randy Campbell

Postby Jeff Haas » 08/04/01 12:10 AM

Richard, thanks!

You have made Genii something I really, really look forward to each month! There is nothing more frustrating that to see people up on this board, talking about an issue that hasn't reached me yet. :)
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Postby Guest » 08/04/01 12:50 AM

One of my favorites is Martin Lewis' Undivided. Another, though it qualifies as a "card" trick, is Maven's Shape Up from his video. I've also begun using his Keys to the Future routine, great response from it!!

Postby Larry Horowitz » 08/04/01 01:57 AM

I find that people frelate to and love dice routines. I particularly enjoy the Sach's two dice manipulation.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/04/01 10:26 PM

Okay, Okay, I'll say it, because no one else has. Color changing knives, all right? Maybe Doug should have just excluded these from the get-go, they've got to be one of the most cliche "noncliche" effects.
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Postby Curtis Kam » 08/04/01 10:53 PM

Okay, perhaps a more constructive reply, more in the spirit of Doug's initial post. Fave effects with props you don't need to buy in a magic store:

Bottle caps...........as done by Goshman
Cigarettes............as eaten by Mullica
Marker ink........as animated by Martin Lewis
A board with a hole.....as handled by Andrus
written words.....as done by Gary Kurtz
reflections of words....also Kurtz
Sound (tuning fork)........Uniquely Roth
Silly Putty..............ditto Roth
Bread Crumbs.......Levand.(okay, DeCamps too)
Mashed Potatoes.............Ammar
A rock with six sides........Okawa
Sea shells....................Allen again
A Paper cone, nine wooden
Skittles, a statuette of a
ballerina, a tiny pot of flowers,
an orange, a borrowed ring, and
several other things I can't
recall, all in one routine.....J.N. Hofzinser
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Postby Gerald Deutsch » 08/05/01 07:13 AM

Much of my magic is done after a business lunch and if my business companion is paying, I'll often (not always - sometimes magic isn't appropriate) take his credit card and vanish it and then produce it from my wallet.

(I had contributed this to Apocalypse and it's in the December 1989 issue.)
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Postby Dan Magyari » 08/06/01 06:48 PM

With a borrowed Bic pen, perform Greg Wilson's "Recapped".
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Postby Tom Dobrowolski » 08/07/01 09:35 AM

My favorite is Gypsy Thread.
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Postby Dan LeFay » 08/23/01 02:24 PM

I'm having a ball with Mullica's giant contact lens. It is more of a gag but it gets a HUGE laugh.
Best is to do it informal, for instance standing before a mirror in the men's room.
And trying to keep your face in line...After someone reacts I shrug and say :" I got minus 168 at mu left eye" and walk away.

Also Daryl's Bounce Across.
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Postby Dan LeFay » 08/23/01 02:59 PM

In case you can still get your hands on them,
Gaeton Bloom's Linking Pins are great.
Same appeal as the Crazy man's H. Cuffs!
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Postby Guest » 08/23/01 03:58 PM


Thanks for mentioning the color-changing knives. I use them in almost every close-up performance, and they are a natural break from cards.

A knife is an understandable, if no longer common, thing to carry--especially for a man. They have a non-magic shop naturalness in that they are familiar day to day objects that anyone might carry--like a pen, handkerchief, ring, or set of keys.

After these, we quickly run out of "natural" personal objects to introduce into a magic routine.

They are more a classic than a cliche in my opinion, and even with the over-familiarity that magicians have with them, they are still fresh and effective in performance for "real people."

Besides which, I have many times been grateful to have a set on me when a package needed opening, a string cut, or a dangling thread removed...

[ August 23, 2001: Message edited by: Whit Haydn ]

Postby Guest » 09/21/01 04:20 AM

I know more, but profesionally I do:

.-Easy money (Pat Page) also favourite of Fred Kaps.
.-Jumping gems a favourite of Juan Anton, one of the masters of Tamariz.
.- 3 Ropes Nigthmare (Hen Fetsch)very good also for kids (De la Torre version).

Middles :
.- Gaetam Bloom linking pins (Slidyni pins but you finish clean).
.- Hat & rabbits (my version published in Circular Escuela Magica Madrid)

.-Linking rings (melange od Slidyni, Haydn, Laurant and Klause)
.- Torn & restored cigarrete paper (Is in Best from Spain Video)
.- Thimble production. Similar to "No holder production" (Mastered amazement book)AlKoran & Lamonte
.- Dice routine. Teodore Sacks (Bruce Elliots book Classic secrets of magic) and Vernon final(Dai Vernon book of magic).
.- Chop cup routine (The Ganson book)
.- Knives ( Kaps version )

Postby Chris Bailey » 09/22/01 04:14 AM

Hey guys. This forum is great! I finally gave up on alt.magic (again) and a friend turned me on to this BB.
About 10 years ago I learned Dan Fleshman's Sonata For Ring and String and have never stopped. A string is the one thing I won't leave home without. While I've played with many, many different moves Dan's routine is so sound I've never felt the need to change it. I aldo throw in the Jumping Cigar Band with the ring to start out (Thanks Johnny!) and finish with Harkey's Goldfinger. Has anyone here seen Goldfinger? And do you do it? Please say no and move along...nothing to see there... ;)
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Postby Guest » 09/22/01 11:00 AM


I saw David Harkey lecture and he did Goldfinger. It looked real good. I've never seen anyone use it nor have I seen a laypersons reaction to the effect. I always liked how it read in his book.

Postby Pete McCabe » 09/23/01 03:04 AM

I don't do it all the time, but Mike Close's "Imagination Tester" has always held a special place in my heart and is maybe the least cliche trick I know of. It reminds me of something you would see in a cartoon.
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Postby Guest » 10/05/01 12:55 PM

The mobius strip or afghan bands is a very non-cliche trick. I saw Dan Harlan perform a seemingly impromptu version after talking about applied mathematics. Dan's Starcle is also very non-cliche.

Postby Guest » 10/13/01 07:40 PM

My favorites are PK Time (Banachek) and Recapped (Greg Wilson..NTGWTOGW). I also just got the new Bendable Pen. WOW! Straight into my working repetoire!


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