There’s one trick that I’ve been fascinated by for decades and it’s the Himber Pail. Here’s a video of Richard Himber doing it on Don Alan’s Magic Ranch:
I love this trick, the effect is good and it’s got a ton of suprises and hits all of the beats! The problem is that the are hard to find and when the pop up at auctions, somehow I always miss bidding on them.
Then a few years ago, I set out to make a version of the trick. Here’s what I came up with:
The technical end of how it works is completely different than Himber’s method, but the effect is the same. Himber’s method is way more practical than mine. Also my method wasn’t 100% where his is.
This is a trick I revisit very now and then, and still have yet to come up with a practical way to do it. Himber’s method doesn’t scale down to a cup size very well. Eventually I’ll come up with a way…
One of the hardest things to do is to sit down and try to come up with ideas. Your options are too broad, you need to narrow it down and give yourself some rules. Some examples would be doing trick with a dollar bill, or an animation that doesn’t use invisible thread.
When I travel I make videos of magic tricks using things that I find in my hotel room. Limiting the main prop of the trick to things in the room narrows your focus.
Another way to narrow your focus is to find one of the calendars online that lists all of the national days. For example today is National Coffee Day. You then create a magic trick for whatever today is.
Here’s an example of three tricks that use a coffee cup that I did for the tricks in a hotel video series:
How I’m using the Evaporation trick in my show right now is pretty simple. I take pour red liquid into a cup and when I turn the cup over a red ball falls out. Not much to it.
There is one little thing that I sometimes have to do to the liquid. Sometimes the liquid it too clear, so I have to make it a little more opaque. How I do that is simple add a few drops of non-dairy creamer to it and that makes it cloudy.
Using non-dairy creamer makes cleaning up the bottle little bit easier. Something in the dairy that makes the bottle get a little gross over time. There’s no reason why you can’t use milk, or half and half as long as you clean the bottle well after each use.
I’m frequently asked about why the Evaporation’s standard version is orange liquid. The reason for this is simple, it’s easy to be seen. Rarely will you have an orange background that you are performing in front of, so the color won’t disappear into whatever is behind you.
Using things like cola, which is a dark brown be hard to see with a dark background, or using milk in an elementary school gym against a white wall make seeing the trick difficult. That’s why I settled on Orange.
You need to think about this stuff with all of your magic. For example I love the idea of cups and balls, more specifically cup and ball(s). So a chop cup would fall in this category. My marketed trick Cee-Lo (Available from www.hocus-pocus.com) which uses 3 dice and a cup has some clever work on the final loads.
Here’s a video of Cee-Lo:
The problem is that the action happens on the table top, and if you are are a raised stage the audience is looking up at the bottom of the table and can’t see what’s happening.
There are a couple of solutions to this:
Build your table at an angle, so the front edge is lower than the back.
Use video projection onto a screen.
Create a routine where none of the action happens on a table top.
The first two are pretty simple solutions, however how practical they are will depend on the venues you perform in. The third one is the one that interests me. You are now walking into fairly uncharted waters. Aside from Ball and Cone, the only other cup and ball type trick that happens in the hands is Axel Hecklau’s Just a Cup.
Axel’s routine is great, but I want to come up with my own take on an in the hands cup and ball routine. So my starting point was a baseball cap, which hand a brim that I can hold on to and a large ball, that’s an inch and a half in diameter. All of the action now happens at chest level and it plays much larger due to the bigger props.
This routine is still in its early phases, hopefully it’ll work out. Once it’s closer to being finished, I’ll start sharing some video of it.
The point of this post is simple: Look at the tricks you do and think you about what the audience can actually see!
I’ve always loved the salt pour trick, but the initial steal of the gimmick has always looked shifty. I’ve never seen any do the steal where it didn’t look like something was going on.
A good solution is is a gimmicked salt shaker, so you are eliminating the steal of the gimmick. An Al Baker Salt Shaker is a great way to do this…if you can find one as they are no longer manufactured.
Another option is the Vernet Etherial Salt Shaker, however I think it looks like a trick salt shaker.
Finally it hit me, why not gimmick a large glass salt shaker like the Evaporation gimmick. You’ll get a pour that looks similar to the Al Baker Salt Shaker during the pour, but will be much easier to set and operate.
I’m currently audience testing it right now an so far seems to be working…
The August issue of Magic Magazine has a review of the Evaporation Trick. Here’s a quick quote from it:
“Louie Foxx makes vanishing liquid look better than ever…Whether for children or adults, comedy or serious magic, Evaporation modernizes a strong visual classic trick in the simplest and cleverest of ways.”
It’s a great review of the trick, check it out when the magazine starts getting delivered!
I frequently get asked why the standard Evaporation gimmick is Orange SunnyD. There are several reasons why this is the main gimmicked bottle. One of these reasons is visibility.
For example if you used milk in the classic Magic Milk Pitcher the white liquid would virtually disappear if you were performing against a white background. You will find white backgrounds in places like:
School Gyms: Very frequently when doing school assemblies you will have a white or light gray gym wall behind you.
Theaters: I’ve performed at many performance venues in variety shows where my show took place in front of a giant white movies screen that another act was using.
Outdoor Shows: When performing at a fair or festival usually your stage will have a canopy with a walled side behind you. The majority of these that I have encountered are white.
By using a juice that is bright colored and not a color that typically appears as the main color of a backdrop you are increasing visibility for the trick. I’m sure at some point I’ve done a show in front of a bright orange background, but those are few and far between. Of course to solve this problem 100% of the time you could simply order two Evaporation gimmicks, one in orange and one in red.