Okito floating ball or floating light bulb

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Postby Guest » 04/23/07 01:35 PM

Hello I'm a new member from Italy,my name is Gabriel I do magic since 1977.
I'm thinking about performing Okito floating ball or floating light bulb.
What I'm looking for is a sources for books,lectures notes,materials...
If someone can help me..
thanks
Gabriel magicogabriel@gmail.com :help: :help:
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Postby Guest » 04/23/07 04:41 PM

Okito described his basic "secret" in Okito on Magic. Richard Robinson also produced a booklet on the Floating Ball.

It is extremely difficult to do well and by that I mean presented so it looks like it's floating and not hanging from a thread, as most presentations tend to be since few are willing to put in the time to perfect the technique.

The illusion was almost certainly invented by David P. Abbott and is described in detail in his book, recently expanded and published by Todd Karr. All the details of construction and presentation are given, although finding the Okito book and studying his thoughts would be most valuable.

Be prepared to practice dozens if not hundreds of hours before you perfect the illusion of the ball floating and not hanging. Think of it as Okito did, as a violin whose playing must be perfect.
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Postby Guest » 04/23/07 04:43 PM

A version of Okito's routine was published in Dr. Robert Albo's THE MAGIC OF THE BAMBERGS, the first in his now XI volume series on magic apparatus. Long out of print, expect to pay $500 or more when you find one. Burling Hull's MIRACLE FLOATING LIGHT BULB manuscript is much easier to find. Don Wayne marketed a floating ball routine feature by David Copperfield many years ago... A monograph on Howard Thurston's handling of the trick is also not too hard to track down.
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/23/07 06:31 PM

Finn Jon has one of the best routines. Funny story about this. Finn wanted to take his wife along as an assistant on a cruise, but he doesn't use an assistant in his act. He CONvinced the booker that she was working. She was backstage with a black box with flashing lights and a couple of buttons and a small antenae. He told them she was CONTROLLING the floating ball and if it lost control someone in the audience could be harmed.

Hehehehhe :D
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Postby Pete Biro » 04/23/07 06:32 PM

Watching that video clip above made me really think that so few can do this well... the body language NEEDS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT APPROACH. Think about it. The performer should be totally away and independent from the ball.
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Postby Guest » 04/23/07 06:33 PM

Isn't there a version of Okito's routine in one of the Goldston books? I've never collected them, but I understand the routine is in one of them. Anyone supply the details?
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 12:01 AM

Many thanks to all.
Of course i practice hundreds of hours before performing.
I've got full of time,the performance is for next march 15 th To : 11 International Festival of magic
in Repubblic of San Marino.
I organise that and i need to cut a fine figure.
:)
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 02:04 AM

vol 4 of prestidigital, has an ebook of one of Hugards magic annuals.
In it he publishes a very practical floating ball, with tons of hints and tips as to thread, lighting, background ect.


http://www.prestidigital.tv/issue04.html

But, why a ball or a light bulb? Harbin floated a glass of milk, Henning , and copperfield floated a lit candle, and there are a host of other items that could be floated.
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 03:03 AM

My first idea was about Okito floating ball.
One collegue speak me about light bulb because is a good reason to perform in soft light conditions.
Maibe ball is most coreografic..
Thank for reply
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 07:17 AM

The trick is to make it seem as if the object is floating IN SPITE of you, not BECAUSE of you. It is under the control of a mischievous sprite and does things you apparently do not want it to do and certainly aren't expecting it to do.

If you take the attitude taken by most performers "Look what I can do! I can make this here ball float in the air!" you will most certainly not succeed in creating a memorable performance. On the other hand, if you take the attitude: "Oh no! It's happening again! The ball is floating and I can't control it!" you might succeed, if you are convincing about it.

You have to be more than an actor playing the part of a magician; you have to be a GOOD actor playing the role of an INEPT and FUMBLING magician.
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 07:59 AM

With no disrespect to Spellbinder, I have to disagree with his advice. I have performed the Floating Ball hundreds of times in theatres and used the choreography developed by Okito. I do not believe Okito played a fumbling magician to make the ball come to life. Further, one of the hallmarks of Okito's routine - and method - is that the ball always responded to HIS gestures. He did not react to the ball, the ball reacted to him. He had total control over the ball. His method allows for this and it is, in my opinion, what adds to the mystery of the effect.

Now, having said all of this, I should point out that the Floating Ball is a VERY difficult routine to stage. You need a sophisicated lighting designer and set designer to really bring it to life. Hence, there are many technical advantages to performing the Floating Lightbulb. Still, the Floating Lightbulb also presents its challenges.

So my advice is...unless you are seriously committed to the piece, and willing to put in scores of hours reconstructing choreography, rent dance studio rehearsal space, consult with a lighting designer, set designer and have appropriate music scored for the piece, spend your time and money on something else.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 04/24/07 08:19 AM

These problems are why the Zombie will not die.

Is the Don Wayne marketed floating ball any more practical than the Okito version?
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Postby Leonard Hevia » 04/24/07 09:04 AM

I don't think so Ryan. I had a Don Wayne Ball many years ago... I
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 09:43 AM

Note that an illustrated version of a floating ball routine like Okitos was in a thin booklet by, I believe, Conradi. I had one about 30 years ago and it was extremely vintage even then.
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Postby Guest » 04/24/07 10:11 AM

Further to DBen's post, when he arrived in a new theater Okito would put on a white suit and with his wife in the audience, work with the theater's lighting man until the thread was invisible against his white suit. For the professional, endless attention to detail is paramount. Good magic is the result of endless attention to the smallest detail.

I would also support Ben's opposition to Spellbinder's concept. A beautiful effect like the Floating Ball should not be ruined by making it a comedy effect. The mystery and beauty would be lost completely.

Then there are unseen problems that the performer willfully ignores. On one of the earlier It's Magic shows, a performer from Mexico was doing a passable Floating Ball. At one point in the routine he gestures and the ball floats across the stage and then back to him slowly.

Unfortunately, he was using braided line instead of silk thread. The tiny supports on the ball, running over the braiding produced a siren-like wail that was heard all over the theater, even over the recorded music. You would think that an advertised professional would have resolved the problem by the next night, but no, the gesture was made and the ball dutifully floated across the stage making the same loud siren sound. It was rather funny and did not add to the mystery of the presentation.
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Postby Marco Pusterla » 04/24/07 11:45 AM

I've been performing for a number of year Don Wayne's Floating Ball and I have to say that it allows a freedom and a movements' range way beyond Okito's routine.

Saying that, however, Don Wayne's riggin requires a fairly large space in the wings, if one wants to take full advantage of the movements of the ball, and this may not be available in all theatres. Don't get me wrong: you can still perform the routine in less than optimal conditions, but you won't be able to achieve its fullest potential.

Also, Don Wayne's routine needs lot of practice and coordination between you and your assistant, which may be working "blind" in some situations. While the magician's work may be simplified, compared to Okito's method, Don Wayne's method requires as many hours practice as Okito's, with the same assistant, to be effective.

I wouldn't recommend floating a "thin" object (like a candle or a flower), as it won't be visible enough on a large stage: a ball or a "consistent" object would be the preferable option. A candle may be suitable for a quick floatation, but I think the effort would be wasted if you were trying to make it a feature of a show.

My 2c...

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Postby Guest » 04/25/07 03:32 PM

No disrespect to the people who disagree with me, however, I'm not talking about comedy, but an actor's attitude, which can be completely serious and which you will find that Okito himself understood completely. Sadly, most magicians who attempt the floating ball are not Percy Abbotts or Okitos. The modern generation of magicians do not study acting first and magic second. They buy their props at magic stores and imitate what they THINK they see when someone manages to fool them completely with something as simple as a ball and a string. Magic is not in the props and routines, but occurs in the minds of those watching. You get that to happen by following the "rule of opposites" and act the role accordingly. I'd rather not discuss this in depth on an open forum among those who don't understand what I am saying and just want to talk about rigging and lights. However, if anyone understands where I'm coming from and wants to discuss it in private on the forum on my site, I will be happy to go into the methods in detail. These methods aren't secrets to actors, only to magicians, unfortunately.
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Postby Guest » 04/26/07 04:25 AM

Reading your initial post makes perfect sense, if you were to perform Zombie.
But i cant see that a whole routine would work in the case of the floating ball.
However, it would be possible to inject humour into a full floating ball in a simalar way. For most of the routine, the ball is there floating under your command.
A guesture towards the ball, telling the audience that you wish it to decend . But it doesnt. In fact it rises, and a lot faster than it went up there. The ball is disobeying the magician, as if it was a naughty kitten up a tree. The magician has to take action, so with a clap of his hands, his assistant enters stage right, with a step ladder.
The higher he climbs, the higher the ball goes.

what to do? The magcian is at the end of his tether.
as a last reort, he begs the ball to come down.It gives in, and floats down, and settles back down from whence it came.
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Postby Guest » 04/26/07 05:01 AM

For some reason I get the image of the ball under the cloth getting pressed down to the table or floor and hear the sound of a whoopie cushion.

What is that ball supposed to be anyway? An intrusion of some higher dimensional object into our space? In that case it may as well change shape and size as well as position.

The bulb is interesting for other reasons.

In all fairness, I spent about a year trying to get just a basic float where the ball would seen solid and have inertia etc... but no success. Same as that mid-air vanish I guess. Not for me at least not now. :(
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Postby Guest » 04/27/07 08:58 AM

Don't even attempt that if you don't have an acceptable background in acting, dance or pantomime, plus a character charisma beyhond the average.
This is an act for a lord of the stage.
And as other said, you must consider a serious investment in lighting and set. If it is not your own show but a multiple program, you should have control on the set up and distance of wings and have your own backdrop.
More than that, your rehearsal space must reflect the basic conditions of the theatre you are supposed to perform.
And I hope you developed a concept theatrically strong and appealing enough before to choice the effect.

For the traditional Okito version, you can check Okito on Magic, Magic of the Bamberg, but also a good chapter in Speer's Illusion Builder to Fu Manchu. Some marvellous pages about the ball are in Illusion Show (one of the best book ever).
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Postby Guest » 04/27/07 10:47 AM

To add to what Raffaele said, if you're using the Abbott/Okito set up, depending on the stage, no one back stage can move during your performance. I believe that was written in to Okito's contracts. As David Abbott did it in his home, he didn't have that concern.

For an effect that has such a simple methodology, there are dozens of details that must be attended to, plus hundreds of hours of practice. It is not something for the casual performer.
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Postby Guest » 04/28/07 12:16 AM

I have seen two attempts at the Okito/Fu Manchu floating ball. One was the last performance Edmund Spreer ever gave. It was in Acapulco. He stepped out with the most beautiful ball I have ever seen for the illusion. It was relatively large. The ball floated for about 1 second. Then the thread broke. He was very embarrassed. He should have reconnected and done the routine, instead. Everyone understood. He was heartbroken, though.

The other was by Paco Miller. Paco learned the routine from David Bamberg. It was magnificent.
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Postby Guest » 05/22/07 05:00 AM

I have vbeen performing my version of The Floating Ball for over 30 years. Over that time I have had about 10 versions of the Ball itself( including the Don Wayne model which I used in my Dante tribute show in 1980) but I always return to the 2 models my wife made for me back in 1994/5.We spent a year developing it; my father in law made the table out of which it floats, my wife made the table's small cover( the whole Act was in red, black & white) and helped develop the initial routine. This was more than useful because I could sit and watch, cut and alter.Some of the moves and handling are my own as must happen with all the great Classic effects. 2 are from The Magic Of The Bambergs ( the Okito routine). A couple of the moves I taught to Marc Oberon before he began his winning streak in British Magic Competitions.
Over the years I have collected a Floating Ball File of some 30 methods and rigs plus a number of Zombie versions. The little book Floating ball Magic by Roy Fromer is great fun to read( D Robbins & Co.)The Conradi version, which Bill Palmer kindly sent me a couple of years ago( I'd searched for it for years to add to my file) is nice to have but conveys nothing of any real use.
One idea which is not in the fileas it's not a ball) is The Great Levante's 'A Canary Floats' in which a live bird floats on an 8 inch ring. See Levant, His Life No Illusion by Kent Blackmore ( 1997. Mike Caveney's Magic Words)Okito taught Les Levant his method of the Floating Ball.
My system doesn't have a stage rig. Like Fin Jon I can carry the table out onto the area and float.
My extensive stage training which included 6 years at ballet school helped. I find that I have to run through the routine before the performance. It's a little like a dancer warming up prior to a performance. Then the the balance between the magician and The Ball and The Ball is ready and in place.
Whenever i used to get 'stressed out' my wife would say, "Oh go up to The Magic Room and have a float" because of the concentration needed to 'operate' the Ball, I always came downstairs, an hour later, totally relaxed.
The young man who is thinking of The Ball might be well to start with The Zombie and learn how to use his body, hands, wrists and arms first. Then he might look at Braco's 2 versions of The Floating Ball. Who knows he may come up with a near otiginal approach and hook up. But the road to success is long, and hard working but very satisfying and enjoyable.
I have had several versions of The Lightbulb but never performed them publicly. After seeing harry Blackstone's legendary version it is best left to The Blackstone Family.
Allen Tipton UK
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Postby Steve Bryant » 05/22/07 05:45 AM

There is a nicely detailed method for the floating ball in the new CD-ROM from Chuck Romano, the CD titled Jack Gwynne's Magical Scrapbook. Check it out at Chuck Romano Magic .
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Postby Guest » 05/22/07 11:01 AM

About the Okito ball........

I know who have the REAL Okito bal! (and lots more Okito items like Flowertray etc)
The person is thinking about selling this item (and maybe more items) but does not know (and I also) what the marketprice is.

Is here a person who can tell me more about this and where ball can be sold?

(for the real interest....I have photo's of this ball with original box and flowertray)

Because of this I appriciate contact by email; ( richard_stooker@hotmail.com )
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Postby Guest » 05/22/07 12:45 PM

After you have the information, try using the one person method for a small stage but two people work better on a larger stage. I have performed the trick both ways. My mentor jim Swoger was friends with Okito and told me that sometimes he (okito) changed the set-up ocasionally when necessary.

I personally like the floating ball much better than a Zombie ball effect BUT the advantage to the Zombie is that you can "Make" the zombie ball come to life much like you do with a puppet. The floating ball is more a mystery and the Zombie ball has more potential for personality added to the performance & it can be performed in a living room as long as you are not back-lit from a window.

Jay Leslie
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Postby Guest » 05/22/07 04:02 PM

I just wanted to add that I do a no helper version of the floating ball using a Thornton Windlass in my back pocket and anchor the end when getting the ball from the wing. I can walk backward or forward and the ball stays right where I left it. You can also do a few hoop moves, similar to a floating dollar bill, and the ball remains motionless.
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Postby Guest » 05/23/07 10:42 AM

I would observe to MagoGabriel who started this thread, that Allen Tipton's advice was extremely generous.

I've seen Harry Jr do the Floating Light Blub several times, both on Broadway and other venues. Once it was so well-received it prompted a spontaneous standing ovation. It was a wonderful moment in the theater that I will never forget.
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Postby Guest » 05/23/07 11:08 AM

Harry jr was good at everything he did
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 05:21 PM

Many years ago, maybe around 1970 or so, the Okito Floating Ball was completely written up and explained in The Linking Ring magazine. I worked up the illusion and presented it in a large theater.

What everyone is saying is true-- it is extremely difficult to do well. I'd recommend going with the Zombie Ball.

I don't know much about other methods/routines so can't comment on them. However, my main point is, the routine can be found in The Linking Ring magazine.
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Postby Guest » 07/15/07 08:11 PM

Spellbinder wrote:
No disrespect to the people who disagree with me, however, I'm not talking about comedy, but an actor's attitude, which can be completely serious and which you will find that Okito himself understood completely. Sadly, most magicians who attempt the floating ball are not Percy Abbotts or Okitos. The modern generation of magicians do not study acting first and magic second. They buy their props at magic stores and imitate what they THINK they see when someone manages to fool them completely with something as simple as a ball and a string. Magic is not in the props and routines, but occurs in the minds of those watching. You get that to happen by following the "rule of opposites" and act the role accordingly. I'd rather not discuss this in depth on an open forum among those who don't understand what I am saying and just want to talk about rigging and lights. However, if anyone understands where I'm coming from and wants to discuss it in private on the forum on my site, I will be happy to go into the methods in detail. These methods aren't secrets to actors, only to magicians, unfortunately.
This would have been a really interesting thread if you knew what you were talking about. However, PERCY Abbott had nothing to do with this trick. It was DAVID P. Abbott who invented it.

Nice try. Really nice try. But, as Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 09:09 AM

Bill Palmer wrote:
This would have been a really interesting thread if you knew what you were talking about. However, PERCY Abbott had nothing to do with this trick. It was DAVID P. Abbott who invented it.

Nice try. Really nice try. But, as Mark Twain said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."

.................................................

That's a little harsh, Bill. Because the writer mixed up Percy and David is not a reason for dismissing the entire post by Spellbinder. He does have several valid points in his post.
Jim
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Postby Pete Biro » 07/16/07 02:34 PM

Stay tooned.
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Postby Guest » 07/16/07 08:52 PM

As the politicians say, "I misspoke myself" and my dyslexic brain transposed the two Abbotts. I do know better since I have the information in my Brief Biographies of Magic Inventors: http://magicnook.com/forum/bioAB.htm

And I might have known Bill Palmer would jump on me for it, so I'll be more careful in the future, lest I offend Mr. Palmer.

Anyway, by simply watching the videos posted by Pete Biro, my point is made to those who have eyes to see. How much better and more interesting would be the routine if the magician stopped flapping his hands and treated the ball as a co-actor capable of independent and surprising movements on its own. It's either a ball on a string, or it is guided by a mischievous spirit that has momentarily possessed it.
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Postby Mago Gabriel » 04/24/08 02:32 AM

Hello I Gabriel from Italy again!
[size:14pt]In the last 04/23/07 i posted this topic : Okito floating ball or floating light bulb.
I have performed the floating ball (the Don Waynes routine) in the past march 15 in San Marino in a great theatre with about thausend people with great success.
Many thank to alls for yours reply!
Thank to my Italian friends Silvan and Alexander for the advice.
You can see the pictures of my performance in: http://www.festivalinternazionaledellam ... 27&catid=6
[/size]
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Postby Brandon Hall » 04/24/08 03:54 PM

Congratulations Gabriel. The pictures look great. I'd love to see some video.
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Postby Mago Gabriel » 04/25/08 05:18 PM

Thank Brandon,very sorry but...I've not a video ..( sigh)
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Postby Dale Shrimpton » 04/29/08 09:38 AM

wonderfull.I hope that one day, you will bring the ball over to the UK, so i will be able to watch it live..
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Postby Mago Gabriel » 04/29/08 02:59 PM

Why not? With great pleasure!
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