Tricks we can no longer perform

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.
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Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Guest » July 24th, 2004, 9:58 am

Due to various factors, I've found that there are tricks that magicians can no longer perform or may run into trouble performing. For example:

*Pen through Dollar. Although this trick can be performed in parlour and stage situations, I've found that in closeup situations, some people call out, "Oh, I've got one of those pens at home!" Seems that magic shops have been selling lots of cheap models of this (the Tannen's version sells for $20, I think), and more and more spectators know the trick.

*Thumbtips. It's gotten to the point, of course, where you have to disguise your use of the thumbtip. Klutz published a magic book with a thumbtip included. Muhammad Ali has exposed it on television numerous times. Magic shops sell lots of these to non-magicians. As long as you cover your use of this trick, you can limp along, but you have to be clever about it.

*Linking Rings. These have been exposed so many times on television.

The best defense, of course, is to perform with all these items extremely well. When Billy McComb uses a TT, he steals it with one of his fingers, then flexes his thumbs for the entire audience to see. Various performers now disprove the key ring before even launching into the routine. But, of course, it takes a lot more work.

Anybody else have any items that they believe can no longer be performed, or must be performed with cleverness and caution?

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Steve Hook » July 24th, 2004, 10:27 am

I recall being flummoxed by Jonathan Neal Brown's linking rings routine.

Re TTips: It's still amazing that unless you're vanishing a silk, most humans don't make the leap to, say, Richard Osterlind's "Sweet and Low" / "Sweeter and Lower" trick with a sweetener packet.

Conversely, there's "A ROSE IS A ROSE" (Stephan Kirschbaum) on the Flicking Fingers DVD. This will fool those in the know with only a slight change.

But obviously you're right about it being more of a challenge these days.

Steve H

ps: I realize this didn't answer your question.

I remember after The Masked Moron show being very concerned about those still performing the Zig-Zag. I wonder if that worry was warranted. Anyone out there still using it regularyly and effectively?

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Ray Eden » July 24th, 2004, 12:52 pm

I can't disagree with the topic of this thread more. Linking Rings, Cups and Ball, paddle tricks and the list goes on and on, have been ready staple in children's magic kits for as long as I can remember. The secret to performing magic is not in the props it is in the presentation. I seem to recall that in the '20s or '30 (someone may be able to correct me - I believe that Fitzkee mentions it in his trilogy) there was magic exposure enclosed in each box of a certain brand of cigarette (I don't remember the brand). Magicians were up in arms then too, but strangely enough magic survived.

Linking Rings has been and remains one of the strongest routines of my act, and I carry a version of pen thru bill in my all-occasions case every day. Over the years, I've had spectators tell me that they've daubled in magic as a kid, and they just can't figure out how I do the Linking Rings. They go on to describe their set of rings and are convinced that my set is different from theirs. Its all in the presentation and the handling. And lets face it, how many people in the world today do you think actually believe that each and every ring is solid?

Exposure does not do as much harm to magic as magicians bemoaning the 'rights to their secrets' does. I grit my teeth everytime I see an article about a magician complaining about 'The Masked Magician' or such like. Magician's complaints do far more to encourage and perk the interest of an audience that wouldn't pay it as much attention if such an issue wasn't made of it. Gee . . . I wonder why so many sequels were made?

The end fact is this . . . people (paying audiences) watch magic to be entertained. If our presentations and handling is superior to Eugene Burger's aptly monikered 'Generic Magician' our entertainment value far out measures method. I've made the following point in a similar thread . . . today's 'magic shows' are really being played out on the movie screens. Magic is created via computers and special effects. AND then, they actually produce tv shows and DVD extras exposing all the secrets! This does nothing to stop people from visiting the movie theaters, but it does cause the movie makers to press for bigger and better results. Should we demand any less from ourselves?

Ray Eden

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 24th, 2004, 6:36 pm

I think Doug Henning put the issue of the exposure of the gap in the key ring to rest when he sucessfully performed the Linking Rings on the Tonight Show and, as he began, said something along the lines of, "These rings don't have a gap like those toys that come in magic sets."
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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Pete Biro » July 24th, 2004, 9:12 pm

I think that line about "these rings don't have a gag" came from Vernon.

In San Francisco, Jade was working behind the counter selling magic. Jerry Salazar (who actually published a book on the rings) was working the streets nearby.

Some customers came in after seeing Salazar work and wanted to buy the ring trick.

Jade demonstrated it.

They said, "No we want the other version, like the other guy down the street did it, with a ring that has a gap in it."

:D :D :D
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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Frank Starsinic » July 24th, 2004, 11:12 pm

The linking rings are very interesting. I had heard about the "gap" long ago but I don't know when.

I told a friend of mine that I started performing the linking rings and he said... "that's easy.. isn't it?".

The exposure is interesting because it speaks only to a "gap".

When a person that thinks they're "in the know" they are actually more fooled than the average spectator because

1. "crash link"
2. "chain of...."


the person's assumptions work against them severely. Because of 1,2 the gap idea no longer makes any sense.

Then when you add to it wonderful ideas, timing and misdirection it's a masterpiece.

I think this might be the very best effect in magic in terms of close-up, in-your-face, what you thought was going on is not magic.

I perform the ninja rings constantly and a few times someone has (at the very beginning) yelled out... "there's a notch" or "i know how to do that one". But not for long. Not for long.

Some smart bastard made up that trick.

Long live the rings.

Frank

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Guest » July 25th, 2004, 2:36 pm

I'm quiet interested if anyone has run into problems with the Himber Wallet and Pen Through Anything, and if they've been burned.

I performed "Photocopy" for my weeknd restaurants audiences all weekend, perhaps 20 or 25 times, and twice, a guy gave me a knowing look and said, "I caught you on that one." I think they knew about the existence of the wallet.

Does the Bronx Bomber (or whatever the wallet is calleed the Gertner prefers) throw people off the scent any better?

I perform Pen Through Bill constantly on the street, show after show after show, with lots of people in the audience, and it never fails to get an applause. However, every so often, someone knows about the gimmick. I performed Pen Through Bill the other day in a semicloseup situation on the street, and a guy examined the bill, then said, "The bill is okay. So it must be the pen." Of course I didn't give it to him.

However, that gives me an idea.

Cornelius's Perfect Pen, which I use, is pretty foolproof-- unless you pull on the tip. I had a New York City waiter pull the tip out. You have to pull pretty hard. Ever since then, I've not handed out the pen for examination.

Maybe if I gave it out and then said, "Watch out. It's an expensive Cross pen. You break it, you bought it." Maybe that would stop them from pulling the tip out.

Or maybe if they pulled the tip out, I could react with alarm and outrage, saying, "Hey! You broke my pen! This pen cost $150!"

Thinking thinks out online has its advantages.... :cool:

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Tabman » July 25th, 2004, 7:45 pm

Originally posted by PDQ Erdnase:
I'm quiet interested if anyone has run into problems with the Himber Wallet and Pen Through Anything, and if they've been burned.
howie schwarzman used to market a nice smaller, backpocket sized turnover wallet. i have one and its so innocent looking ive never had anyone question it. only good for card sized stuff though. -=el tab

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby mrgoat » July 26th, 2004, 5:43 am

Originally posted by PDQ Erdnase:
Due to various factors, I've found that there are tricks that magicians can no longer perform or may run into trouble performing. For example:

*Pen through Dollar.

*Thumbtips.

*Linking Rings.

I use all three of these effects all the time.

Someone once said 'I saw the masked magician expose those ring things but the ones he used had a big hole one of them.'

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Scott Sullivan » July 26th, 2004, 9:09 am

I'll have to disagree with the topic as well. I've had many a conversations with a good friend and fellow pro. He has a huge problem with exposure and even has a problem with the local magic shop selling thumb tips and invisible decks (when we got down to it, it's because he's performing both of these items in his stage show).

As was already explained, I think we can use thumb tips and linking rings under their noses and still get away with it. Look at Chris Capehart. You can't get any closer than that (if you haven't seen Chris perform, you're missing a great lesson in performance art!). Chris walks through his audiences and does the links literally inches from their noses! Regarding the TT, I do the bill switch and a few other routines using a TT and no one is the wiser.

Regarding the pen through bill, if you are that worried about the pen, change the routine or even better, use Mis-led. In my humble opinion, I think this solves everything. I've had on a few occasions had the "I know this one, it's a trick pencil." I toss the pencil over to them and let them keep it. They never know how to respond. Their rug was just pulled out from under them. I just carry a couple pencils in my inside breast pocket and I'm good to go.

Ray said it best (a few posts up), audiences are paying to be entertained. They want to have a good time. It's our job to make sure they remember us and the good time associated with us, not some pen.

Cheers!

Scott
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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Guest » July 26th, 2004, 12:51 pm

Originally posted by mrgoat:
I use all three of these effects all the time.

Someone once said 'I saw the masked magician expose those ring things but the ones he used had a big hole one of them.' [/QB]
Mr. Goat:

Then how do you deal with people who give you trouble with the pen? Or the Himber wallet?

{And by the way, if I may ask in the most delicate way possible, what are the roots of your provocative name? Is that your real name? Do you own goats? Do you have a child who likes goats? What--is--the--deal?!} :D :) :eek:

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby mrgoat » July 26th, 2004, 1:15 pm

Originally posted by PDQ Erdnase:
Originally posted by mrgoat:
I use all three of these effects all the time.

Someone once said 'I saw the masked magician expose those ring things but the ones he used had a big hole one of them.'
Mr. Goat:

Then how do you deal with people who give you trouble with the pen? Or the Himber wallet?

{And by the way, if I may ask in the most delicate way possible, what are the roots of your provocative name? Is that your real name? Do you own goats? Do you have a child who likes goats? What--is--the--deal?!} :D :) :eek: [/QB]
I use the cheap papermate version of the trick, no one has ever questioned the pen, as it looks so ordinary.

I dont use the himber. Rings, Pen Thru and a thumb tip is what I said I used.

And I just like goats. :)

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Pepka » July 26th, 2004, 5:47 pm

I heartily agree with Scott and a few others here. A good performer who knows how to handle "invisible" gimmicks and couldn't care less if the spectator has one of those plastic thumbs in his drawer at home. He can also switch gimmicks in and out of play right under the noses of the audience.
I don't do the rings, but have played with them and have many friends who do them beautifully. I've seen many good performers who disprove the key ring. To me, a good ring routine is one that takes the key ring and totally disproves it. Symphony of the rings is an excellent example of this. And if you want to play it for laughs, you can't get much funnier for laymen than Whit Hadyn's 4 ring routine.
I hate to say that I agree with the producers of the exposure shows, but... Do you think it was something like that which drives us to create new methods? Like Vernon's no key ring linking. And the ace-acemblies, coins across etc. that use no hidden gimmicks?
Pepka

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Dan Trommater » July 26th, 2004, 7:31 pm

I perform Pen Through Bill constantly on the street, show after show after show, with lots of people in the audience, and it never fails to get an applause. However, every so often, someone knows about the gimmick. I performed Pen Through Bill the other day in a semicloseup situation on the street, and a guy examined the bill, then said, "The bill is okay. So it must be the pen." Of course I didn't give it to him.
You had mentioned in your initial post that dealers are selling a cheap version of the pen through bill. That's the best version that I've seen. It has a gimmicked tip that just pulls off the 'other' (non-writing) end of the pen. You can cop that little tip and immediately hand the pen to the spectator.

Anyone know what this version is called?

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Guest » July 26th, 2004, 8:27 pm

One thing that I've found is that after doing this for over 10 years, I don't get the questions or smart aleck statements near as much. Part of it could be my age, part could be that I feel more comfortable with who I am and what I'm performing. The audience usually doesn't see it now until I've done it over a 100 times and I feel that the presentation is strong enough for human consumption.

I've learned a lot from watching and reading Irv Weiner, Matt Schulien and many others. If you love your audience, and your good, you generally won't have those kind of problems.

Rick

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Ray Eden » July 26th, 2004, 9:42 pm

The Bic with the removable tip (which is also the one I use) is by Doug Edwards. It first appeared on the market back in the '90s under the name 'Wonder Pen-etration'. There is also a Tenyo update called 'The Ultimate Shocking Pen'.

Ray Eden

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Guest » July 26th, 2004, 11:17 pm

My 2 favorite effects to perform were the linking rings(Vernon)and cups and balls(Vernon).
I also used a couple of Miller's ring moves, and performed Larry Jenning's Chop Cup.
Classics performed well will always fool and entertain general audiences and have stood the test of time. Magicians, on the other hand are easily bored and want to see something new or a different twist.
Many years ago I sold magic at Merlin's Magic in Disneyland. Whenever I did the rings, some wise guy would invariably say he knew how it was done and had it at home. I usually ended up selling him a larger set convincing him he had the beginner's version and that it was different.
I sold ball and vases. By the time the wise guys would say the secret, I had palmed out the secret, pushed it in front of him and said, "ok you do it". Then when he couldn't, I would repeat the effect with sleight of hand, and would sell him another ball in vase.
Once a close up performer has convinced an audience of his/her ability, he can grab a handful of change from his pocket, pretend to take a coin of the spectator's choice (actually putting it back in the pocket with the rest of the coins)and pretend to vanish it. They will believe it!
Many years ago I wanted a great stage trick that was sleight of hand, so I started doing linking rings. You can link and unlink them inches from their eyes and the spectator can't. When performed well it's impact is awesome.

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Carl Mercurio » July 27th, 2004, 8:25 am

I did get burned once doing cig through quarter during one of my bar sets. A woman came up to me later and said, "that was good, but I know how you did it." Seems she had seen the street magic exposure show that revealed what Blaine was doing.

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Richard Kaufman » July 27th, 2004, 8:51 am

Carl, if you were performing Derek Dingle's routine all would have been well.
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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Tabman » July 27th, 2004, 8:54 am

in the 80s when i smoked and was on the road with the ucb i kept a johnson cig thru quarter in my pal's pocket. i would always "borrow" a quarter from him. seemed to play well.

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Re: Tricks we can no longer perform

Postby Carl Mercurio » July 27th, 2004, 9:25 am

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
Carl, if you were performing Derek Dingle's routine all would have been well.
Yes, and if I actually was Derek Dingle, all would have been even better!!!


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