When I was buying some props at a Walmart I came across the Nertz game that is put out by Bicycle. It’s got different colors of the rider back cards. These would be great for making color changing card tricks. The only downside is that these appear to only come in jumbo index.
and a funny little thing that I noticed is on the back it lists all the colors and which ones are new. It lists red as a new color?!
If you’re working on a color changing card effect, I think it’s worth it to pick up a pack of these!
One of the things that I’m trying to figure out for the Giant Linking Pin / Thumb Tie routine that I’m working on is what is the presentation hook. It’s the why am I showing this to the audience. This is usually the hardest piece of the puzzle to figure out when creating a routine.
I’d been doing it as “the first trick I ever learned“, but artistically, that’s pretty lazy. That premise is a good placeholder to get the routine onstage, but it’s now a good long term one (usually).
It hit me the other night, I personally have a needle phobia (in a medical setting). I could use that as the hook by saying that I did “exposure therapy” starting with carrying around safety pins in my pocket and eventually moved up to the giant pins. That tells the audience something real about me, and gets an unusual prop (the giant safety pins) into play.
I need to play with it more, but I think it’s a good idea…
I’m liking the thumb tie routine that I’ve been working on the last two weeks. There’s a lot of big laughs in the routine!
One of the challenges in writing for this routine is that a lot of the “comedy” comes from me and the guy onstage being stuck together. I want to make jokes, but the reason for the joke funny can’t be because it’s “gay”. What I mean by that is if the only reason the joke gets a laugh is because it implies one or both of use is gay, I don’t want it. I personally don’t think anyone’s sexual orientation should be the punchline of a joke. That and I don’t have any sexual content or inuendo in the show.
The jokes have to be about the situation that the guy and myself are in. Writing with rules can be harder, but ultimately I think it will make a better routine.
The last ten days I was sharing the stage with another act that used a lot of magic tricks. One of the tricks that they used was my Snake Wand Surprise!
I always love seeing my props out there in other peoples shows! This is the first time I’ve shared the stage with one of my props used by someone else. It’s a good feeling knowing that people are out there using my stuff and making a living with them!
It’s an OK media spot, not the best. They wanted 90 seconds, and I ran the card trick for the camera guy and producer and they wanted the whole routine, just done in 90-120 seconds. That made the spot rushed, I should have let most of the effects linger longer for displays of the card.
Then the camera work during the card trick missed a lot of things because it was tightening up when it should have been wider. All in all, it wasn’t a bad TV spot, but it wasn’t great.
The last week I’ve been working on a thumb tie using electrical tape. The routine is starting to figure itself out, but I keep noticing dead spots or spots where the blocking is rough and hard for the audience to see.
One place in the routine that’s both dead time and not really audience viewing friendly is when the guy on stage cuts the tape off my fingers. About half the time they try to cut into the gimmick, which obviously is no good. Then I also have to make sure they don’t cut my thumb! While the whole process probably takes 5-10 seconds, it’s a hot mess onstage.
My solution has been to hand the guy the scissors, then take them back, but with my now free hand and cut the tape off my left hand. It gets a laugh at the surprise of my hand being free! I can cut the tape off my thumb really quickly and while facing the audience.
The last couple of days I’ve been working on using a giant set of safety pins onstage for a linking pin routine. Recently I started adding a thumb tie to it to add length. One thing I quickly learned is that there’s a ton of dead time at the end of the routine when I’m having the tape cut off of my thumbs.
My first attempt for fixing the dead time was to add a trick to the end. What I was doing was taking the tape and turning it into an animal balloon. That went over fine, but it’s not the right fix for the routine.
I think my second attempt is a reasonable solution to making the dead time of cutting the tape off my fingers worth it. I’m moving the thumb tie to the first half of the trick. After the thumb tie, the tape is cut off, then I move into the linking pins routine. This has been playing a lot better!
Now I need to keep adding meat to the routine to get it good.
I was browsing through reddit and came across a post with an picture of an old bread slicer:
I immediately made a connection to a prop that I assumed was simply a strange magic prop. The bread slicer resembles Lester Lake’s Disceto that was put out by Abbott’s Magic!
A quick internet search shows that bread slicing machines were invented in the 1910’s and Disecto was put out in 1942. It’s entirely possibly that the Disecto was trying to mimic a common object.
It’s also interesting that if it’s supposed to be a bread slicer, that people still use a prop that mimics something that used to be something people were familiar with, but hasn’t been common in my lifetime.
This is why it’s important to look at our props or lines and take out things that people aren’t familiar with. A good example of this is when I hear a comedy magician use a line about someone’s picture in the post office. That’s something that really hasn’t existed in my lifetime. I’ve encountered it once in my life about 10 years ago in a small town. I do know the reference from Bugs Bunny cartoons, but those were made decades before I was born. Because of this I don’t find the “post office joke” funny or something I can relate to. Look at your show and remove old references whether they are verbal or physical objects.
This week I started working on routine using some giant safety pins that I came across (read about them here). My initial plan was to see if I could make my close up linking pins routine work on stage with the the giant pins which are about 14 inches long.
The routine works onstage, but it needs more. It’s hard to justify the time it takes to bring someone onstage for a quick trick. I needed to build out the routine and add more.
I think that adding a thumb tie to the trick adds time and texture to the trick. The idea is after my normal linking pin routine, I would add the thumb tie using the giant pins as the “ring” that would normally go on and off my arms.
I’m thinking of using electrical tape for the tie as it’s easy to get almost anywhere. Method wise I’m thinking of using Irv Weiner’s Red Tape thumb tie, as I have all the stuff for it.
In my close up set I do the linking safety pins and I love the trick. I’ve even gimmicked a larger set of about 5 inch pins to do the trick with. The 5 inch pins are good for about 30 people, there’s too small for a real stage show.
I found these giant safety pins and I think they’d be great for using on stage!
The challenge now is figuring out context to do them and getting more than a couple of minutes out of them. In my close up routine I use someone from the audience. Since I’m bringing someone onstage I really need to get at least 4-5 minutes out of the routine to make it worth the time it takes to get someone onstage.
In my writing this morning I had the idea of combining the linking pins with the thumb tie. The idea is the beginning phases will be my normal linking pin routine, then I’ll have my thumbs tied to “eliminate sleight of hand” and then the pins will end up going on and off my arms. That’s the idea, we’ll see how it plays when I get a chance to try it out!