No Outs and Snagging…

Honestly, I’m not sure how I used to do the vanishing birdcage. I think I was very lucky in that years ago it never really hung up on my sleeve in a show. I also think that I’m currently more aware of failure without an “out” in tricks that I do in the show. Billy … Continue reading “No Outs and Snagging…”

Honestly, I’m not sure how I used to do the vanishing birdcage. I think I was very lucky in that years ago it never really hung up on my sleeve in a show. I also think that I’m currently more aware of failure without an “out” in tricks that I do in the show. Billy McComb in an interview on the Greater Magic Video Series says, “…there is no out when the cage is hanging out of your sleeve.

Currently I’m following Tommy Wonder‘s advice. Every time the cage snags on something, I’m trying to figure why it snagged and what I can do to stop it from snagging. It’s a smart approach, and one that’s a lot of work and will end up with a fairly altered jacket.

The last year or so I’ve been working with the vanishing bird cage trick. I used to do it a long time ago, and at one point even did the Tommy Wonder version with the sleeves rolled up. The vanishing bird cage is one of those tricks that I keep revisiting. Currently it’s in the … Continue reading “”

The last year or so I’ve been working with the vanishing bird cage trick. I used to do it a long time ago, and at one point even did the Tommy Wonder version with the sleeves rolled up. The vanishing bird cage is one of those tricks that I keep revisiting.


Currently it’s in the show and I’ve been doing essentially Billy McComb’s Slow Motion Vanishing Bird Cage. The main difference is that I’m doing it fast, just under the cover of the sheer scarf. I think the scarf adds a little bit to the vanish. Yes, it takes away from the instant vanish, but also adds a bit of other options as to where the cage could have gone.


Last night I stumbled upon a video of Tommy Wonder doing his vanish with the scarf:

I like this better than when he does it uncovered.

One thing that the scarf does is that it gives the audience a moment to process what’s happened while you show the sheer scarf empty and let’s their brains get caught up.

Advice from Billy McComb

Frequently I end up driving several hours to gigs. Last night I had a gig at a casino that was only 90 minutes away, but quickly ended up being a 3 hour drive due to unusually bad traffic for the time of the day that I was travelling. I always give myself plenty of time … Continue reading “Advice from Billy McComb”

Frequently I end up driving several hours to gigs. Last night I had a gig at a casino that was only 90 minutes away, but quickly ended up being a 3 hour drive due to unusually bad traffic for the time of the day that I was travelling. I always give myself plenty of time to get to the gig, so this wan’t really a problem. Once I notice I was going to have some time, I listened to a CD set where Nick Lewin interviews Billy McComb.

casino magician

This CD set is amazing, there are three CD’s and every few minutes there’s great advice. One of the things that Billy McComb talks about is the advice that is giving to magicians to have a “flash” opening. A quick, visual trick you can do right off the bat to establish yourself as a magician. Billy doesn’t agree with this.


Billy thinks you need to establish YOU first and that he starts his show with a monologue. He bases this on the theory that if they like you, they’ll like your magic. I agree with this theory.


Last night at the casino I started started my show with jokes that I normally do elsewhere in the show and front loaded my show with jokes. My opening was just a series of jokes about me and my life. The audience was very receptive to that and I’m glad I made the change!



Vanishing Bird Cage

I’ve always loved the vanishing birdcage, ever since I was a teenager and was told about Bert Allerton doing in close up while table hopping.  Then I saw Blackstone Jr. do the vanishing birdcage where all the kids put their hands around the cage, I’d seen Lance Burton do it with his round cage.  However … Continue reading “Vanishing Bird Cage”

I’ve always loved the vanishing birdcage, ever since I was a teenager and was told about Bert Allerton doing in close up while table hopping.  Then I saw Blackstone Jr. do the vanishing birdcage where all the kids put their hands around the cage, I’d seen Lance Burton do it with his round cage.  However the one that really did amazed me was seeing Billy McComb do the vanishing birdcage.  Here’s a video of it:

What made Billy’s version different was that he did his whole act and ended with the cage. He didn’t have that cramped posture, he had a full range of motion. I don’t think Billy was the first person to use a take up reel for the birdcage, however he’s the one that made an impact on me.

Over the years I’ve owned several take up reels, including the one that was sold with the Billy McComb vanishing birdcage set.  Right now I own a funky one that was made in Germany.

If you don’t know what a take up reel is and how you would use it for a vanishing birdcage, it’s pretty simple.  All it does is shorten the length of the string on the pull.  That’s it.  But that simple little thing makes all the difference in the world!

Having used a take up reel, the thing I didn’t like about them was the weight of them.  They are metal and heavy.  For someone like Billy who it appears did the cage at the end of an act, the weight is probably less of a problem then when used by someone doing a 45-60 min show.

Recently I got a 3D printer and started playing with it and ended up designing a take up reel. This is a lot lighter because it’s plastic.  I’ve been using this for months and I will say, I think I’ve finally come up with a solution for me to do the birdcage in my show!

Using a take up reel isn’t just for the birdcage, there’s a lot of cool stuff you can do with them.  I’m not going to go into detail about other tricks you can do with them because there’s soo many.  I’m just glad I came up with a solution that works for me.

Louie