My whole life I’ve been fascinated by monte type effects. When I was a teenager I had a trick called Three Coin Con by Eddie Gibson. It was a shell game style routine that used three coins (one was a different color than the other two) and three identical covers. Here’s Paul Daniels doing it:
The trick is a bit of a fooler, it’s got some great magical moments along with the “monte” presentational hook.
The set I had as a kid has long been lost, and recently I’ve been searching for a set. Up until about a week ago, I could only find them in European coins, but I just found a set on ebay and very excited to start doing it again! I’ve got a 8 day run at a fair in about a week, hopefully with a bit of dedicated practice I can start doing it there!
Yesterday’s post I wrote about someone looking for interactive coin magic. Seeing their post, I created an original trick that would fit their requirements. It’s a coin trick, it’s interactive, in that everyone could follow along from home and it has a magical payout. It’s a “touch the screen” type effect, but the magic ending takes it beyond a math puzzle.
here’s how the effect plays, you have three pieces of paper, one has coins written on it, one credit and the final bills:
Someone touches one of the pieces of paper. They spell the word on it, jumping one space per letter.
You tell the you know they aren’t on the word “Bills” so you eliminate that one and throw that piece of paper away.
Now they spell money (starting on the word they ended on), jumping one space per letter.
You tell them you know they aren’t on the Credit, that means they picked the Coins! You then pick up the paper with coins written on it, light it on fire and produce coins!
In my head this coin production would look like this Tommy Wonder picture:
There you go and original, interactive magic trick that had a magical payoff!
While I personally don’t like the the “touch the screen” type effects, I do think that knowing them and understanding how they work make you a more well rounded magician. It’s just another tool in your toolbox that will help you solve a problem.
Whenever I get an idea for a magic trick, I try to take some sort of action immediately. Sometimes this is simply writing down the idea, sometimes this is trying to actually work out the idea. Yesterday I was making breakfast for the family and was cracking an egg and had an idea for this:
It started with me thinking, “I wonder if you could do spellbound with an egg…” which is better than a coin for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a natural thing that people have seen (white and brown egg), most people have not seen a copper coin that’s the size of a half dollar or silver dollar…also most younger people haven’t really see or handles a half dollar or silver dollar. While those two coins are real objects, they are still unfamiliar objects, where an egg very commonplace. The second reason is that there’s a perception of eggs being fragile, thus harder to manipulate (or gimmick).
I’ll need to tweak it a little bit, but after trying it once, I think it’ll be a good trick!
I’ve written about my fascination with the coins to glass magic effect. One version that I’ve always likes is the Jack Hughes Visible Coins To Glass, or in the USA we tend to call it Bob Kline’s Copentro. That’s the version where the coins visually appear in a shot glass that’s covered by a larger glass.
There are other version of the trick where the glass held mouth up with your hand above the opening of the glass. The coins then “drop” into the glass from your hand. Here’s an example of this version of the trick:
The problem with the version with the handheld glass is that it’s pretty obvious to anyone that the coin came from your hand. The glass doesn’t really isolate where the coins are appearing. The glass does add a fun sound when the coin arrives and adds a prop which may make the trick play a little bit bigger. Both of those a great additions, but they are really aren’t additions to the magic effect. They don’t make it more amazing or really any different from a coins across that happens in the hands.
That’s why I think I really like the Hughes/Kline version where the cup is isolated. It is something more than an in the hands coins across.
Over the last 18ish months I’ve worked on several versions of the trick. One that I will probably never use is this one:
The video above is the more complete version of the one I posted back in January (see it here). I wanted to figure out not just how to get the coin into the shot glass, but how to make the whole thing work start to finish. I’m glad I did that and have that version of the trick out of my mind now…until I try to start to work on how to make multiple coins appear in the shotglass…
Last night I was walking my dog and was thinking about an amazing idea of my friend Bri Crabtree. She uses a green screen spot, which is a genius idea! My idea was to use it as an xray for a vanish. Here’s a rough idea of what I’m think of:
I’m thinking if I get a ping pong paddle that’s green on one side I can make it work. Show the non-green side that says “x ray” then flip it over, show the skeleton of my hand with the coin and d do the vanish.
It’s not the deepest mystery in the world, but it is fun!
I’m trying to decide if I’ve become an old curmudgeon, or if some other people are simply idiots and the internet is highlighting this. Recently in a facebook group someone was asking for a good way to vanish or produce a die. Anyone with basic knowledge of sleight of hand knows how to do this. I’m going to assume the original poster asked in case there was something strange that they had not thought of.
Then they get this response and you can see my response below it:
Am I being an old a$$shole…or does this the person who responded have no idea what they are talking about?
as far as I know a shuttle pass pretends to move a coin or coins from hand to hand. It is neither a production or a vanish. It may set you up for the production of vanish, but it’s neither of those*.
Why would you suggest a shuttle pass?
My only guess is you don’t know what you’re doing. This is why crowd sourcing your knowledge instead of going out and getting a working knowledge of sleight of hand hurts you. It feels like a short cut until you realize you’ve driving around the same block four times.
My advice is to go out and learn the basics and try to figure it out on your own, that way you won’t be chasing leads that have zero merit.
*Yes, I do understand that from a technical standpoint it’s both a production and a vanish to create the illusion of passing an object hand to hand, however to the audience it’s neither of those.
About a month ago I make a blog post about how a version of Copentro that I’d been thinking about for while and was finally working out. It was more of a coins to glass than Copentro. What I mean by that is in Copentro the coin appears in side a glass that’s covered in a glass.
Also I should note that what I’m calling Copentro is Jack Hughes Visible Coins to Glass. I grew up calling it Copentro due to Bob Kline marketing it as that.
I like the coins to glass that I’ve been doing, but something inside me wanted to make a coin appear inside a glass that was covered by a glass. Luckily it really didn’t take much to make that happen. Here’s what I came up with:
I think it captured the spirit of the Jack Hughes / Bob Kline effect. Unfortunately I can only do it with one coin
I made a cleaner video of the coin to cork trick, which I’m giving the title Corkage Fee. This is the title that was stuck in my head.
I cleaned up the handling’s timing a little bit and added some context to the switch of the cork. For a quick social media video, having the balance on the nose at the beginning is a better switch than a shuttle pass. An even better way would have been to start with a bottle of wine that I took the cork out of. I don’t really drink wine, so that’s not something I have kicking around.
One of the things that’s huge in magic right now are the tricks where the spectators at home follow along with what you do and you end up knowing what they are thinking of. I wrote about my thoughts on this recently, and you can read that blog post here. Basically I want to use add magic to the puzzle to make it more magical.
After the blog post, I wanted to come up with an original trick, with an original puzzle. The trick was going to use coins, so I went out a bought a 21 Cent Trick and a $1.35 Trick at my local magic shop. With these two sets added to the array of trick coins I already had at home, it would allow me a lot of options for the routine.
The premise I was going with was a coin would be selected and all of the coins would disappear. The problem I was having was with the sequence of the counting. There was too much of it.
I finally settled on using two pairs of coins, two pennies and two nickels. In the end they pick a nickel, and the other three coins disappear and there’s just a nickel left.
Right now I’m working on finishing up some videos for a client and I’m just over halfway finished. I had and idea for a little routine, I wanted to essentially do the Sucker Silk To Egg, but take it a bit further. If you’ve seen the lecture that I do for magicians, that’s the message of the lecture, take your magic a step further!
I remembered reading in a Karrell Fox book about a method for the Silk To Egg that he called Super Simple Silk-2-Egg. The was a great method for the Silk To Egg that got rid of the gimmicked egg, which then eliminated the switch of the real egg and the fake egg.
My next challenge was to figure out what direction further I wanted to take the trick. My original idea was to turn the silk to the egg, do the fake explanation and peel off the sticker. The ending would be the silk was then actually inside the egg! The problem with this is that the silk would really need to be signed and that doesn’t really work for a pre-recorded video.
With my original idea not going to work for this specific gig (but I may work on it for other shows), I kept thinking. Then I remembered a book I picked up in a discount magic bin for about a dollar. The book was Hatching by Nefesch, which is a signed coin in egg. This is an interesting effect as the coin is actually inside the egg with all off the egg goop when you crack the egg open.
The sequence of the routine was now starting to take shape. A coin will turn into a handkerchief, which then turns into an egg. At that point I’ll do the “sucker explanation”, and when it’s time to crack open the egg, the coin will come out of it.
It’s not the most amazing magic routine out there, but it definately taking the Silk To Egg to another place (not sure if it’s a good place).