I’ve been working on this Silver Extraction coin trick style routine at the fair this week. I’ve learned a lot. First of all, I think the more complex method I’ve come up with to switch the coins, has some advantages over simply doing a shuttle pass. A shuttle pass is a solid method for doing the trick, however the advantage of my complex method is that I can hold the coin more openly after the switch.
One of the problems I’ve encountered working on this is getting the shell to stick to the magnet on the lighter. The solution was simple, I added a second magnet to the lighter and some more shim steel to the shell coin.
Having more magnets and more steel to grab solved the problem. The lighter really firmly attaches to the coin.
Another thing that I’ve learned about the trick is that I need to call attention to the three layer of the coin. Most people have noticed the layers, but never really thought about them. The trick has been getting great responses from the people at the fair this week. I really like how strange the trick is.
Yesterday I started messing around with the Silver Extraction coin trick. Traditionally how the trick goes, is you give them the coin that they hold in their fist. You then pull the silver (silver blob) through their hand and they are left with a clear coin. I think the pulling through the hand is fun, but I think this particular set of coins has a different effect possible.
here’s the idea:
I like the visual of the shaking and having the silver blob sliding around on top of the copper center of the coin. Method wise, I’m not sure it’s an improvement over just a shuttle pass. I’ll be trying out both methods today at the fair.
Many years ago when I was working at Market Magic Shop, I used to demo and sell a trick called Silver Extraction. The effect is you take a half dollar and it ends up turning into a blob of silver and a clear coin. Then at some point someone made a coin that was just the copper center of a half dollar. I don’t know what the routine was, but I’m going to assume it was a similar effect.
I always thought it would be great paired with the blob of silver that came with the Johnson Silver Extraction. Unfortunately they stopped making the Silver Extraction a long time ago, so that was something I never did. Well, recently I came across one of the blobs of silver and bought it.
Now that I have the two of them, I can try it out!
Many years ago I bought a trick in a bin of discount magic that was a change of a spoon to a fork. When I opened the package, I thought it was garbage, and as written in the instructions, it really was garbage. Then I started presenting this as a transposition between and fork and a spoon and it played much better. It’s a real fooler for audiences.
This trick has basically lived in my preshow for years, but never made it up into the main show. It was missing something. I ran the trick through a workshop group I’m in and they all thought it needed a surprise ended. They were pulling for a spork, which is funny, but I think it lacks visual contrast from a spoon or fork as an ending.
Here’s what I came up with yesterday:
I do like the surprise of the knife. Now the routine needs to be fleshed out a bit more and performed for an audience a bit and we’ll see if it goes anywhere…
Whenever I’m performing at a venue and there are other shows or performers I always try to watch them. You can learn soo much from watching other acts. One of the shows that I saw recently was the Jet Pack Circus.
This show used the water jets to propel performers in the air. Their set up looked great and the show has great curb appeal. What I mean by that is that it looks like something you would want to watch, or would want to book.
I personally wasn’t the the biggest fan of the content of the show. Yes, the jet packs are interesting for about 5 minutes. After you see the first person go up, it’s all a variation on them going into the air. For example the first performer goes with the jet pack shooting from a board they are standing on (see above pic), then the second performer went up in a seated position (see pic below).
Once they were in the air then went around in circles in pool. It was pretty repetitive. The show was short, at about 20 minutes and around the 18 min mark they finally gave us something new when a performer did a flip.
Their ending was a performing went up holding an American Flag. It wasn’t a big patriotic production like how Ringling used to end their circus. There was no patriotic music, just someone holding the flag and waving.
One thing I remember from an old magic book was they was to get a good round of applause at the end of the show is to end with the production of a flag. That’s essentially what they did. I think this is lazy, they didn’t have a finale, so they waved a flag. I dislike it when any performer leans on the flag to try to get applause.
Honestly, for my taste it was a lot of “Look at these jet packs we bought” and less of a “Jet Pack Circus“. This show would have been better as an act within a larger water show, not as a stand alone show.
I also understand that these water jet packs are fairly new technology and performers are trying to figure out how to use them. I hope they come up with something cool!
One of the tricks that I came up with during the pandemic was a gag card that used the Out To Lunch principle. The gag relies on the similarity of the words “pitcher” and “picture”. You offer someone a “free pitcher/picture of beer”.
The card shows a full pitcher of beer, and you write their name on it. Then the pitcher magically becomes empty.
I’ve been doing this trick since shows started opening back up and about a month ago, I was doing it at the Abbott’s Magic Get Together. It was a hit with magicians, and many asked if I was selling it and at the time I wasn’t.
Recently, I’ve been doing it a lot and am convinced that it’s an amazing trick to non-magicians. I think the gag is very strong and that strengthens the magic trick as it’s unexpected. I’m trying to decide whether to write up the trick for a magazine, or to do make up sets and sell them. I think if I sell the sets, more people will do it as it’s easier to get a set of the cards than having to make you own set from scratch.
Everyone things performing on the road is all fun and games. My current run is about 15 weeks long, sure there are some gaps in the schedule that I fly home, but 15 weeks is a long time on the road.
There are some things that I do to keep myself sane, like going for walks or to the gym. This particular trip I’m driving, so I was able to take some tools with me. Last night was a big night, I hunted down about 50 bottles for my Evaporation trick and then made them in my hotel room!
Later today I’ll be working on a couple of custom props in the hotel room after a full day of shows at the fair! The glamour of working on the road ever ends!
Here’s another one of my videos where I try to improve packet tricks that I’ve come across. This one is called It’s a Joke-r by Bill Pryor. Here’s the video of it done with the original instructions and then a revised version for a real audience:
The trick is sort of a Princess Card Trick with a kicker, but it’s poorly executed. The whole part of putting a card in your pocket, just to pull it out I don’t like. I also don’t like waiting for the audience to want to turn over the cards on the table for the kicker to happen. If they do turn them over, it’s great, but if they don’t, the trick is just OK.
The changes I made of have a card thought of by me and the person from the audience gives the trick a little more depth. Then never putting a card in my pocket, but keeping it in my hand adds a lot to the trick. Finally having a reason for them to turn over the cards to discover the jokers guarantees they get revealed.
This is a trick that takes up way too much pocket space for how good the trick is. I don’t think the original or my revised version justifies the use of space.
Right now I’m performing in Coeur d’Alene Idaho, and about 20 minutes away is Spokane, Washington. Spokane has a magic club and I know most of the people there. I swung by an did a mini lecture with Adam The Great and Cecil Lewis. We talked about working the fair circuit and taught some tricks.
This is a three phase routine where the silk goes through a coat hanger. Each time the penetration is a little bit different. The first two phased are pretty standard silk and ring moves, but the third is a move that’s unique to using a coat hanger.
This was fun to finally teach! I’m glad I’ve now put it out there into the world. Honestly, I’m not sure how many people will ever do it, as it’s a pain to do and the reel is expensive!
Before I headed out on the road, I was cleaning up and noticed a book that been kicking around my office forever. I’m not sure how I ended up with the book, but I’ve never read it, so I threw it in my car. The book is Class Act: The Magic of Tony Binarelli.
When I was a teenager I think I had seen Tony Binarelli lecture at the Desert Magic Seminar in Las Vegas. At that time he was lecturing on mentalism from his book My Way to Mentalism. Honestly, I don’t remember much of lecture, but I picked up a set of the lecture notes for a friend of mine.
Ok, back to the Class Act book. There’s a lot of hype in the introduction of the book about innovative moves. The first two card sleights are a top palm and second deal, both of which I think predate Tony. However it’s also entirely possible that they are his.
The top palm is a two handed top palm and it’s not very good as written. It’s something that I was doing as a teenager because I couldn’t quite do the one handed top palm. Essentially, it’s a two handed, one handed top palm. In my version I slightly slid the top card forward with the deck held in mechanics grip. Then my other hand pressed down on the outjogged part and the card pops into your palm. In Tony’s version, he slides a lot of the cards forward, it looks strange. The one advantage to Tony’s that they don’t really mention, but kinda hint at is that it makes it easier to palm off multiple cards. You pinkie count them with your ring finger as you push down and they pop up.
The second deal is a turn over deal, you can’t deal face down from a face down pack. I was just chatting with Chris Beason about this second deal technique a few weeks ago. It looks good, but not a natural looking deal.
So far, I’m glad I’m reading the book instead of getting rid of it without reading it.