The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 21st, 2017, 5:56 pm

I thought it might be interesting to pose this question: What trick or routine that you do gets the best reaction for laymen? It can be a well-known or obscure trick, published or unpublished, original or not, or a trick or routine to which you have done your own modifications and/or variations.

And I know it may be difficult, because it is likely many of us have several real winners, but try to pinpoint just one. Feel free to elaborate on the kind of reactions people give you when you perform it and what it is about it that you believe makes it so strong. If it is not completely original then give appropriate credit where you can.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 21st, 2017, 6:48 pm

It should be noted that one trick can be a dud in one person's hand and a spectacular success in someone else's. It is never so much whether a trick is good or bad but whether it suits you or not. I get pretty good reactions from all my tricks but a lot depends on circumstantial factors. There are circumstances where say my dotty spots trick will get better reaction than Out of This World. It all depends on where I am performing, the atmosphere I am performing in and most importantly the people I am performing to. At a trade show for example the svengali deck goes over the best although I would never use it anywhere else because I hate the sight of the bloody things!

I suppose in a general sense the strongest reactions I get from any trick is MacDonalds $100 routine. However, the reaction is there and then. Instant astonishment. However, with Out of This World the reaction is more stunned and delayed reaction kind of astonishment when it sinks in to the people what they have just witnessed. So in the long run this trick is the strongest. I have heard people talk about this trick months and even years after I have performed it for them. They don't scream and shout too much at the moment of performance---they are just too shell shocked and amazed. It is a sort of delayed action trick for me in some ways.

Incidentally, Matching the Cards is pretty good too! And they go crazy for the sponge balls! In actual fact I do find it difficult to pick out anything in particular. I never sell the tricks anyway---my intention is to sell myself doing the tricks. They just come along for the ride. It doesn't really matter what tricks you do when it all boils down to it.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jack Shalom » December 21st, 2017, 8:08 pm

Close-up? For most audiences I don't think there's anything stronger than an Ultra Mental deck routine.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 21st, 2017, 9:52 pm

Jack,

Have you done any performing with the Brainwave deck? If so how would you compare the reactions to it with those to Ultra Mental?

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jack Shalom » December 22nd, 2017, 9:50 am

No, I've never done so, though I know many prefer it. How do you feel about it? I like that you can show the faces of the cards in the Ultra Mental. It seems more fair to me.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 22nd, 2017, 10:48 am

Jack Shalom wrote:No, I've never done so, though I know many prefer it. How do you feel about it? I like that you can show the faces of the cards in the Ultra Mental. It seems more fair to me.


Yes, that is a good point re the fairness aspect of the Ultra Mental, and you are right on the money that it is super strong for laymen.

I have been doing the Invisible Deck routine/Ultra Monte for 30 years and the reactions are invariably very strong. I only recently acquired a Brainwave Deck and have yet to field test it. It seems like it should be exceptionally strong, especially given the kicker that shows that the spectators "thought-of" card has a different color back than all the rest of the cards.

But, for me, overall, the routine that consistently gets the best reactions from laymen (and particularly women and children) is the Multiplying Rabbits. Here is a performance of it at the bar I've worked at over the past 3 years (with credit to Chuck Smith, a fine and creative magician, for the "Peter and Ruby" theme):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3znaw_-7tpI

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Richard Kaufman » December 22nd, 2017, 11:46 am

The answer is simple and obvious: spongeballs. From the moment they were invented, the answer has always been spongeballs.
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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 22nd, 2017, 1:41 pm

I have just been reading the David Berglas book. I know he got fantastic reactions. There is no mention of the sponge balls in the book. Come to think of it I don't think it was ever part of his repertoire!

I never saw Chan Canasta or Uri Geller do the sponge balls either come to think of it. Houdini or Thurston didn't do it either probably because it wasn't invented then! And now that I think about it I don't remember Vernon ever doing it either!

It isn't the trick anyway. It never was. You can manage perfectly well without the sponge balls.

Oh, bloody hell! I just remembered who DOES do it. Me! I completely forgot about that! It does work well even if the camera work is a bit lopsided!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3-OHSFV5S4

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Mark Collier » December 22nd, 2017, 3:06 pm

I would say the $100 bill switch consistently gets the best reactions. People have an emotional connection with money and if someone could really do magic, they would turn dollars into hundreds rather than do tricks with cards or some other prop.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 22nd, 2017, 3:52 pm

Mark Collier wrote:I would say the $100 bill switch consistently gets the best reactions. People have an emotional connection with money and if someone could really do magic, they would turn dollars into hundreds rather than do tricks with cards or some other prop.


That's very good point.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby I.M. Magician » December 22nd, 2017, 4:14 pm

Is there really just one trick that gets the biggest reaction? Wouldn't several fit that category and would it be relative to who the performer is?

I have to agree with RK that at least for me, sponge balls has always been a winner.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 22nd, 2017, 4:17 pm

[quote="I.M. Magician"]Is there really just one trick that gets the biggest reaction? Wouldn't several fit that category and would it be relative to who the performer is?

Yes, I.M. Magician, you are right, but the question is more specific - i.e. which trick that YOU personally do gets the biggest reaction when YOU perform it.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby I.M. Magician » December 22nd, 2017, 4:21 pm

For some, it would be a well executed Cups and Balls routine with one or more really strong climaxes.

For me, it has always been a Sponge Ball routine.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby chetday » December 22nd, 2017, 4:31 pm

Al Schneider's "Matrix" almost always generates a great response. Ditto for "Poker Player's Picnic."

I personally hate sponge ball routines because I almost choked on one once while doing a variation of a sword swallowing bit, but I think Richard's right in putting it at the top of the list for laymen.

Oh, one more just bubbled up from my poor old brain... Simon Aronson's "Histed Heisted" has evoked yelps of surprise and pleasure on several occasions. This effect requires a lot of work to get down pat, but it's certainly worth perfecting when you have the right audience and the right circumstances in which to perform it.

Caveat: I'm just an obsessive card magic student for the most part, and the statements above are based on limited performances for family, friends, an occasional party, and my long-suffering students when I taught English for 25 years and finished Friday classes with a bit of magic to send them smiling to the weekend.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Bob Farmer » December 22nd, 2017, 7:59 pm

Roy Walton's, "Cascade" with the cards ending in the spectator's hands. I have my own version, "Mutanz," which has a slightly different ending. Also, in the same vein, "Twisting The Aces," with the last card revealed in the spectator's hands.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby erdnasephile » December 22nd, 2017, 9:01 pm

Mark Collier wrote:... if someone could really do magic, they would turn dollars into hundreds rather than do tricks with cards or some other prop.


Perhaps.

However, I'm pretty sure if a magician could really do that, they wouldn't need to be doing magic for a living! ;)

PS: The best conviction for the bill switch I ever saw was when Paul Gertner did it on the Tonight show and gave Johnny the $1,000 bill.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 22nd, 2017, 9:46 pm

I am happy that I find this so difficult to answer. I get very strong reactions from many, many of my tricks. I can't really single anything out. I must be doing something right.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby F.Amílcar » December 23rd, 2017, 8:09 am

From my point of view the best card trick is ROLL OVER ACES and the trick on close-up magic GIPSY THREAD with a special music.

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F. Amílcar Riega i Bello.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Leonard Hevia » December 23rd, 2017, 9:46 am

Think a Card--when I've hit it, and Total Killer have garnered great reactions. I stick with the Think a Card with outs from The Complete Works of Derek Dingle and Total Killer is R. Paul Wilson's version of KK.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Q. Kumber » December 24th, 2017, 4:55 pm

Harry Leat's Run Rabbit Run.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby erdnasephile » December 24th, 2017, 5:46 pm

Is getting the strongest reaction the same as fooling them?

In the case of some sponge ball performances, I've seen, I'm 99% sure that no one was fooled, but they screamed nevertheless.

I think that may be why some magicians just abhor the sponge balls.

(I like the sponge rabbits :-) ).

PS: I think the most fooling (and entertaining) sponge ball routine I've seen is Bill Malone's.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby erdnasephile » December 24th, 2017, 5:55 pm

My answer to the question of the thread is: Ambitious Card. (I want to hate it since everyone and their mother does it, but it kills, so I keep doing it).

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 24th, 2017, 6:14 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Is getting the strongest reaction the same as fooling them?

In the case of some sponge ball performances, I've seen, I'm 99% sure that no one was fooled, but they screamed nevertheless.

I think that may be why some magicians just abhor the sponge balls.

(I like the sponge rabbits :-) ).

PS: I think the most fooling (and entertaining) sponge ball routine I've seen is Bill Malone's.


I have just been watching the Bill Malone Sponge Ball routine which is indeed very good. However, it reminds me of a point that I have always wondered about. Mike Rogers once wrote that he was not in favour of routines where after the very strong effect of the balls in the spectators hands the magician then goes on to other moves and effects such as the two in the hand and one in the pocket thing. Rogers felt it was anti-climatic as nothing can exceed the effect of the sponges appearing in the hands of the spectator. I am not sure whether Mike Rogers was right or wrong but it has always affected my thinking with this trick so I do tend to routine things so that doesn't happen.

Anyway I am quite sure that lay people are "fooled" (if we have to use that dreadful word) by the sponge ball trick. I don't believe for one moment they would scream if they weren't. If people know how a trick is done they don't usually hesitate to tell you. I do know that it is my most often requested and talked about trick if they have seen it before.

Anyway here is the Malone routine:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJiEPXWVJ3A

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 24th, 2017, 7:32 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Is getting the strongest reaction the same as fooling them?

In the case of some sponge ball performances, I've seen, I'm 99% sure that no one was fooled, but they screamed nevertheless.

I think that may be why some magicians just abhor the sponge balls.

(I like the sponge rabbits :-) ).

PS: I think the most fooling (and entertaining) sponge ball routine I've seen is Bill Malone's.


No, I would not say that getting the strongest reaction is necessarily the same as fooling them, although the two could certainly coincide.

I do happen to agree with Performer that the screams that ensue in the course of a sponge ball routine (especially the first phase) is indicative of them having been fooled - and badly!

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jack Shalom » December 24th, 2017, 7:37 pm

Here's someone you don't usually associate with sponge balls, but also very good...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4D_1ztMBB6U

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Brad Jeffers » December 25th, 2017, 3:28 am

When it comes to sponge balls routines, I have never seen one better than THIS.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 25th, 2017, 5:27 am

Well, IMHO, this is hard to top:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LF8nTq7r_Q

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby erdnasephile » December 25th, 2017, 11:09 am

Does anyone else remember a sponge ball routine called "Clones"? It began with a clever production of the "clone" (orange sponge ball with eyes and red nose) from an eye dropper. It was goofy, but at least the theme of clones made sense with the big mutliball production at the end.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Frank Yuen » December 25th, 2017, 11:41 am

Yep, a Patrick Martin release. Still have my set somewhere.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Tom Gilbert » December 25th, 2017, 9:05 pm

J. C. Wagner once said (not a direct quote), "you show them this killer sleight of hand with cards and coins and all they talk about is the f****
rabbits."

Was it Daryl that thought that once the spectator opens their hand and there's two spongeballs, the trick is over?

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 25th, 2017, 9:41 pm

Tom Gilbert wrote:
Was it Daryl that thought that once the spectator opens their hand and there's two spongeballs, the trick is over?


Whoever said it was wrong. I remember thinking that when I first learned it and I have read various tosh saying that the effect diminishes the more you do it. I have found the exact opposite. Every time you do it the reaction increases. And I have videos to prove it.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 25th, 2017, 10:03 pm

[quote="Tom Gilbert"]J. C. Wagner once said (not a direct quote), "you show them this killer sleight of hand with cards and coins and all they talk about is the f****
rabbits."

It's true. I have had grown men - "sophisticated" millionaires at clubs in Palm Beach - come up to me and implore me to come to their friends' tables, beseeching: "Please do the rabbits for them!"

"People love and remember 'The Rabbits' long after they have forgotten routines that might take years to learn...the rabbits are possibly the greatest close up trick of all time!'' -Michael Ammar-

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Tom Frame » December 26th, 2017, 3:06 pm

erdnasephile wrote:Does anyone else remember a sponge ball routine called "Clones"? It began with a clever production of the "clone" (orange sponge ball with eyes and red nose) from an eye dropper. It was goofy, but at least the theme of clones made sense with the big mutliball production at the end.



That would be "Close's Clones" by Mike Close.
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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Spellbinder » December 26th, 2017, 9:42 pm

"Close's Clones" is a card trick, not a sponge ball trick. My own "Pompom Critters" from The Wizards' Journal #13 comes close to that concept, and with Jim Gerrish's "Clown Clones" in Mini-Mysteries Book 4, which is a jumbo card variation of Michael Close's "Close's Clones" (with his permission) both go over well with the younger kids.
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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 26th, 2017, 10:10 pm

I still remember Ron MacMilllan telling me that the svengali deck was just as good as any other card trick. No matter what card trick you showed him he would shrug his shoulders and say, "Oh, the svengali deck is just as good"

It has certainly made me more money than any other card trick but that isn't quite the same thing. Mind you, it also made Ron more money than any other card trick too so perhaps he was a bit biased. After all if there was no svengali deck there would have been no International Magic and I know that for a fact.

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 28th, 2017, 9:44 am

It has been fascinating to read all the various comments on this thread. It has led me to delve deeper into what makes a trick optimally strong for laymen. I am talking in general terms now, as there is wide spread agreement that a certain effect will be stronger or weaker depending on the individual performing it. So is there a factor that, generally speaking, will take almost any close up routine and make it stronger than it might already be? One answer has been offered by Bill Simon in his book, Effective Card Magic, (Louis Tannen, 1952, Edited by Jean Hugard, Illustrated by Stanley Jaks, Introduction by Martin Gardner):

Audience Participation

"The most effective tricks are those in which your audience takes an active part. For example, when a card is selected let the deck be held in their hands, or let them do the shuffling, or permit your spectator to hold the deck as you "conjure" the ambitious card to the top of the deck. These minor points make an ordinary card trick many times more effective than if the magician were to have the deck well engulfed in his own clutch during the course of a trick. Play up the "fairness" angle underplay the "working" moments have the deck under your control or must perform some manipulation."

Certainly the strength of the sponge balls, about which there has been prolific discussion here, is consistent with Simon's view. As to the selection of a card, ever since I saw Eugene Burger's performance of the Card to (Mullica) Wallet, I have relinquished the deck into the hands of the spectator and instructed them to go through the deck and take out any card they want or are drawn to (as my back is turned) and then to hand me the deck, and to show it around, if there are other spectators, whereupon the control is then accomplished (e.g. Eugene used Hindu Shuffle Control)

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 28th, 2017, 12:43 pm

TYPO ALERT:
In the passage quoted from Effective Card Magic in my previous post, the sentence, "Play up the "fairness" angle underplay the "working" moments have the deck under your control or must perform some manipulation," should read:

"Play up the 'fairness' angle underplay the 'working' moments WHEN YOU MUST have the deck under your control or must perform some manipulation."

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby performer » December 28th, 2017, 12:58 pm

This is very true. Bill Simon got it right. I have stated time and again that when performing close up you have to BRING THE PEOPLE INTO IT! And there is always a way no matter what the trick is. Even if the trick does not seem at first to require the assistance of spectators you can always find a way. Ask them a question, or get them to blow on something or wave their hand over it. Get them to say a magic word or something. Anything will do. You don't have to do it in every trick because a change of pace is always nice but you should certainly do it in nearly every trick.

If you don't then you risk performing AT people rather than with them.

I have emphasised this point in this interview at 20.23

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vYiairhhoI

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby Jack Shalom » December 28th, 2017, 1:33 pm

I like the view that the best tricks give the spectators a great story to tell their friends: "Then we did this, and that happened!"

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Re: The Trick with the Strongest Reaction from Laymen

Postby MagicbyAlfred » December 29th, 2017, 1:43 pm

Jack Shalom wrote:I like the view that the best tricks give the spectators a great story to tell their friends: "Then we did this, and that happened!"


OOTW, perhaps?

What better story for a spectator to tell his friends?


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