Miser's Dream

Discuss your favorite platform magic and illusions.

Postby Guest » 10/25/02 09:46 AM

Well, after many years of saying "I'll get around to it". I've finally decided that it's about time that I learned "The Miser's Dream". Could you guys recommend to me what you think are the best resources. I'd like to learn as much as I can (i.e. books, videos, DVDs, pamphlets, etc.) before I even start putting a coin between my fingers.

I finished Magic and Meaning and I saw a beautiful performance of The Miser's Dream in the same week. What can I say . . . I'm inspired.

Any information would be greatly appreciated, Thanks

Postby Pete McCabe » 10/25/02 02:44 PM

IMO the best Miser's Dream routine is David Ben's, published not too long ago in Genii Magazine.

In this one you take a handkerchief and start producing coins; each coin is placed into the handkerchief.

At the finish the handkerchief is drawn away and all the coins are gone. So it was just a dream.

Props required: Two coins and a handkerchief.
Setup: None.
Performance limitations: None.

Even if you don't use David's extremely straightforward, gimmick-free method, I strongly urge you to read his write up as it contains many fine points that can be applied to any method.

For example: you "see" a coin in the air. You reach out and grab it, and it becomes real. Now you "see" another coin. Without taking your eyes from this new coin you put the first coin in the handkerchief and reach out to grasp the second coin.
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Postby Guest » 10/25/02 09:17 PM

There are many standard texts from which to draw ideas for the Miser's Dream. Numerous routines are detailed, for example, in Bobo's Modern Coin Magic. But I recently discovered a wonderful little pamphlet by Patrick Page (called "The Miser's Dream"),which I would recommend as the single best starting point for someone seriously interested in developing the effect. It takes you through everything from the sleights to the props to the presentation, with a strong theoretical underpinning. I think you can get it at Denny and Lee's (dennymagic@aol.com). And if you ever have a chance to see Jeff McBride do the Miser's Dream, don't miss it. It's the best I've seen.

Postby Guest » 10/28/02 02:46 PM

IMO the best Miser's Dream routine is David Ben's, published not too long ago in Genii Magazine.
Does any one remember the number or month this issue was printed?

Postby Pete McCabe » 10/28/02 04:40 PM

Another great routineis in the evergreen "Classic Secrets of Magic" (aka "Great Secrets of the Master Magician") by Bruce Elliot. The routine begins with the Jardine Ellis wine glass production, which is then used to hold the coins as they are produced.
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Postby Guest » 10/28/02 07:17 PM

I agree with Pete. It's a great routine, well thought out and NOT TOO LONG. I just started working on it myself as a result of the Book-of-the-Month-Club. If I learn to perform and SELL this routine, I'll have a gem I can do anywhere, anytime - close up to stage. I suggest you invest in Norm Nielsen's Palming Coins. I tried a bunch of other coins and coin-like stuff, but they're the best. --Asrah

Postby Brian Marks » 10/29/02 07:14 AM

I would go with a standard Misner's Dream before David Ben's because you lose the benefit of the coin hitting the metal can. I love David's routine but he designed it to be done while the set was changed during his show. It works very well for David of course.

Jeff McBride does it on one of his videos for stage coin magic.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 10/29/02 11:19 AM


What do you do for a climax? That's one of the things I like best about David's routine -- there's a genuinely magical climax (all the coins disappear) that makes perfect sense in the context of the routine (it was just a dream).

Another routine that came to mind is Jim Pace's, which he does while table-hopping (!).
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Postby Steve Hook » 10/29/02 02:55 PM

One of the most entertaining routines I've ever seen in magic period was Flosso's Miser's Dream with the kid on the Magic Ranch tape. (It was Flosso, wasn't it?)

It's all there for the learning on the tape...but did he ever publish it?

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Postby Pete Biro » 10/30/02 06:32 PM

Flosso's routine, to the best of my knowledge, was NEVER published. It is even difficult to reconstruct watching the tape as Al loaded the kid in many different ways, depending on the situation.

Currently, Jeff McBride's routine is very strong and very similar to Flosso's.

One of the best was Charlie Miller's written up in Magicana (Genii), as well as anything Pat Page wrote about the subject.

Simplicity is the key.

Performance value is the more important aspect.
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Postby Brian Marks » 10/30/02 09:03 PM


I must admit David Ben's routine has a much better climax than what I do. I am currently walking through his routine right now. I really liked that all the coins disappear at the end but I really miss the coins hitting the pale. I think it gives a sense that the coins are real. I think producing an invisible coin and having it hit the bottom of the pale is a real surprise at the beginning of the trick an it ultimately strengthens the whole routine.
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Postby Guest » 11/12/02 12:48 PM

Originally posted by Pete Biro:
One of the best was Charlie Miller's written up in Magicana (Genii), as well as anything Pat Page wrote about the subject.
Can anyone tell me which issue of Genni has the Charlie Miller version?

Postby Robert Kane » 11/12/02 02:09 PM

You can find a reprint of the Charlie Miller Routine (as previously printed in Genii) starting on Page 433 of the revised edition of Bobo's Modern Coin Magic published by Magic, Inc. Not sure if it is in the Dover edition.

By chance I was reviewing Miller's superb routine last night. It is a great write up and its inclusion in Bobo's book is helpful because Miller refers to many coin sleights that are in readily available in Modern Coin Magic.

This makes learning the routine a heck of a lot easier.

Hope that helps. :)
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Postby Guest » 11/18/02 12:37 PM

Having done the Aerial Mint (aka Miser's Dream) for many years, I can tell you that the most practical work IMHO, is Pat Page's. Jeff McBride based his routine on a little of Pat Page and a little of Flosso.

Pat's "London Stage Lecture" video has some excellent work that makes his (now out of print) booklet really come alive. Pat's climax is a shower of coins from both hands into the bucket, and you won't believe the bold loads he uses. His routine is designed for a noisy cabaret floor, and works well on the street and under most conditions.

One of the biggest choices is the methodology. Many performers today do the coins as if it were a dove act, with numerous body loads. I really think this misses the point of the thing, which is creating the illusion of vast amounts of money with only a few coins, by the means of reproducing the same coin and using a single load in the non-dominant hand. Pat Page's work correctly sticks to this.

David's Ben's version in GENII (vol. 63, no. 6, June 15, 2000) :genii: , is wonderfully spare, and as already noted, was designed for a specific need - to vamp during the set up between larger effects. However, I would still take the time to learn it, for several reasons. First, you may have the need to fill time (perhaps as an MC) someday, and having this (literally) in your back pocket could save the day. Second, if you value texture and variety in your shows (and I hope you do), then this provides a quiet interlude that could be just the thing you need. Third, it's a wonderfully designed routine that will teach you something about acting and what Henning Nelms calls "the silent script." These are all good things and make this routine worthy of your consideration.

Bobo (second ed.) also contains a wonderful version by Howard Schwarzman that makes a great opening routine. It's very fooling.

Also, you may wish to take a look at another view of the L'Homme Masqu Palm (aka Downs Palm) in the "L'Home Masqu" issue of GENII (vol. 63, no. 7, July 15, 2000). :genii:

If I am on stage and the audience will never get a close look at the coins, then I use Neilsen palming coins. If, however, I plan to produce coins from the audience members' clothing, hair, ears, etc. then I always use real half-dollars or US dollar coins, prefereably silver.

Near the holidays these will change magically to silver-wrapped chocolate coins at the end, which are tossed out to the audience.

I have found that the Aerial Mint is an open-ended routine that nevertheless has a climax, and which allows me to get off the stage and mix with the audience. The magic is often in the interaction with one or more children on stage or mingling with the audience. If the pace is kept snappy and it's not overdone, it can add important variety and texture to a platform show.

Hope these ramblings help someone.

Eric Henning
Henning Magic

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