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!

Am I Old and Surly?

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.

Coin To Glass…

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

Clean Cork…

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.

Interactive Coin Vanish…

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.

Coin To Silk To Egg with a Kicker!

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).

Copentro Like Routine?

After playing with the coin trick from yesterday’s blog post, it hit me that I could do something similar to Bob Kline’s Copentro trick. If you’re not familiar with the trick you can see it here:

Essentially the difference is that Copentro has a base for the cup and then typically a stand the holds the coins to allow them to vanish. Using the coin vanish / production from yesterday (plus something else), I can now do the Copentro trick eliminating the base and stand.

Here’s a proof of concept video (nowhere near a final version):

The routine and the moves still need some practice, but I think it has the potential to be a solid little routine.

Lazy Creativity…

Over the last 5 or so years there have been a lot of “Omni” magic props put out. The basic idea behind the trick is that the prop you are using turns into glass, or clear plastic. A quick Google search shows that recently there have been Omni Pens, Omni Cellphones, Omni Coins, Omni Credit Cards, and more!

Here’s the thing, unless you have an amazing switch of the prop you’ve come up with , it’s lazy creativity. I think that Jerry Andrus and Danny Korem’s Omni Deck was ground breaking and still has a lot more going for it that most other Omni props are lacking. In most other Omni tricks, the magic trick is that the prop turns clear, that’s it. In the original Omni Deck, the clear deck is the kicker ending. You are turning the deck that’s been handled by the spectator clear. Now only that it happens in their hands and to all the cards except theirs!

Now let’s look at another old school Omni prop, the Silver Extraction coin trick. In this trick, someone holds a coin. You then pull the silver of the coin through the back of their hand and they end up holding a clear coin. What makes this trick good is that there’s another element to the trick beyond simply turning the prop clear. Also the prop turning clear is an obvious, but unexpected ending to the coin trick.

Before you put out an clear prop, think about what you are contributing to magic. Are you moving the art forward, or just making a clear prop?

The Penny Solution…

In yesterday’s blog post, I mentioned it took a bit of work figuring out what to do with the penny in the trick where a penny changes into two silver dollars. The challenge was that the coin change happens immediately, however I need to keep the coin hidden for the whole routine. Based on the conditions I posted I can’t just ditch it as my hands need to remain in the frame. Adding to the problem is that I also have two coins finger palmed the entire routine (until the end).

Penny shell magic trick


The solution I came up with, which should have been pretty obvious was to attach attach a magnet to the penny as the silver dollars already have magnet in them. I took the penny shell from a Dime and Penny set and used teflon tape to hold the magnet.

I figured using a shell would allow the penny to sit flat on on the silver dollar. The flatter it sat, the less chance there would be for me to accidentally knock it off, and it won’t rattle as the coin moved.

The “penny solution” brings me back to something Nick Lewin always says, I love how elaborate this 30 second coin routine has become!

Conditions on a Coin Routine…

The last couple of days I created and refined a coin routine. Here are the two routines and the conditions:

Initially the conditions were:

  • Viewed from the front
  • Done for the camera
  • No table
  • Face must be framed

I will say that I initially fudged the face must be framed because I put the coin in my pocket, however there’s still action by my face as that’s where my right hand stays holding a coin.

After coming up the first version, I added a couple more conditions:

  • Hands stay in frame
  • Usable in a LIVE show with video projection
  • Able to set up quickly

With the second set of conditions, I’m thinking about actually using the routine. In the second version, I’m playing the the camera for the two times the coin disappears from one hand and reappears in the other, but it will still work live. The set up quickly condition is huge, I need to be able to reach into my case, grab the coins and be good to go.

Then there’s a small challenge with the condition of my hands not leaving the frame. I have the stupid penny to keep hidden after it changes into the two silver dollars. It sounds simple, but was a pain to figure out how…until I came up with a very simple and obvious solution to holding out the penny for almost the whole routine.

The next step would be to start to work on a verbal routine, or at least intro, to get more than 30ish seconds out of the routine.