A few months ago I wrote a blog post about a set of gimmicked handcuffs I had made a long time about. You can read about them here. The allow you to escape from the cuffs, but they also have another feature that allows you do a thumb tie style effect.
These cuffs have two very different gimmicks in them and I finally got around to making them again!
Essentially these cuffs will be used as a gag in the show. The premise of the trick is a rope escape, however at the end I’ll say I didn’t get out…of the handcuffs. The appearance of the handcuffs will hopefully get a laugh, then I’ll go into the thumb tie bits. I’ve never really done anything like this in the show, so we’ll see how it plays out.
A few weeks ago I ordered a custom designed wallet that had playing cards on it (you can read about my card wallet here). I had totally forgotten about it, until it arrived yesterday. It was a fun surprise!
Here’s the wallet:
This wallet is essentially Harry Anderson’s MishMash card design, but set up like John Kennedy’s Mind Power Deck! I’m happy with how it turned out, however if I was going to make another one, there are a few small changes. Right now it’s a way to force one of 8 cards, then a fishing procedure to know the card.
I’ve got an idea to then have the card appear in your wallet, with no sleight of hand! I’m going to play with this idea later this week!
For a while I’ve had an idea for a trick wallet…well for a wallet trick. The wallet w0uld be a Tyvek Wallet and you can have them custom printed with what ever you want on them. My idea is to have a bunch of card pieces put on it, and this is essentially Harry Anderson’s Mishmash Card, but printed on your wallet. The basic effect is someone thinks of a card they see and you reveal it.
In the sample above, there’s more force cards than in Harry’s trick. There’s 8 force cards above. I can now use a similar procedure as in John Kennedy’s Mind Power Deck to figure out the thought of card. I can verbally reveal it, or use a multiple out like in David Harkey’s Minds Eye Deck.
I think combining Kennedy and Harkey’s ideas may make it a stronger trick. I uses figure out what the card is without asking what it is and use that information to set up the reveal. I also like the idea of having your wallet be the trick, so you are good to go whenever!
I just ordered a wallet…I’m betting the design will need some tweaking and I’ll have to redesign it and order another one.
This week is challenging with performing outdoors in a noisy environment for people who are far from the stage and masked. I can’t hear them, or if someone says something I can’t tell who is saying it. I can also have no one on stage. I’ve been working on no contact material for a while, but the not being able to hear people is really throwing me for a loop.
I’ve been leaning heavily on jokes to add length to my show. The nice thing is that they require no props and that I can do and tell them without needed to hear anyone. It’s almost like telling jokes on a zoom show…but you can’t see people laughing.
I’m remembering reading in Wise Guy, Harry Anderson‘s book about performing band breaks at concerts and not being able to use the audience onstage. That’s where he developed his mismash card, and the monarch monte.
I’ve got a couple more days of stage shows before I shift back to doing just roving. It’s fun trying to figure out how to work these shows…hopefully I won’t have to deal with this ever again.
The last couple of days I’ve written about the torn and restored card that I’m working on. Now that I have the technical end pretty much worked out, the next step is figuring out how to make it work in a show. Right now with virtual shows, it’s easy because I can hold it close to the camera. Once “socially distant” shows are more common, I’ll need to make it bigger than just a playing card.
The original version that Harry Anderson did used a card that was bigger than a jumbo card. Yesterday I made a gimmicked card using a jumbo deck and while it’s visible, the way the current jumbo cards are made, they are too hard to make to be practical for use in every show. That got me thinking about the Phoenix Parlour Decks. These are between a standard deck and a jumbo deck. Being slightly better is a huge advantage for visibility.
While I’d love to be able to do the gimmicked cards in jumbo size, the availability of the old stock jumbo bicycle cards makes this something that would have a limited life. Ideally when I create, whatever I use will still be in production, so I can at least stock up on them.
In yesterday’s blog post, I wrote about a torn and restored card I was playing with based on a method by Harry Anderson. I think Harry’s method is really clever, and his full routine takes the trick from a simple torn and restored card to an amazing finish!
Here’s me trying out my version for some magicians the other night:
What’s neat about the tweak I made to the Anderson version is that you are actually tearing up their card, but the restored card you give back is the original card! It would make a fun magic dealers ad:
No Duplicate Names
No Double Writing
You Actually Tear Up Their Card
The Card Can Be Given Away
Self Contained Gimmicked Card
No Latex Flaps
No Invisible Thread
I’m having a lot of fun with this torn and restored card. I wonder how it will play once we get back to live, in person shows.
Over the weekend I met up with a couple of other magicians and we were jamming and talking about some interesting torn card ideas. Then an idea for a torn and restored card hit me. The particular method allows the card to be signed on the front and back and the signature to be seen while it’s being torn.
This is an interesting development for a torn and restored card. It’s built on a torn and card that’s 35+ years old that Harry Anderson did on the Johnny Carson show. The main difference is Harry’s method only allowed the card to be signed on the face, where the method I’m playing with allows the card to be signed on both sides and the gimmick is a bit more self contained than Harry’s was, but mine is also a bigger pain in the butt to make.
One of the keys to creativity is having base knowledge to pull from. Being well read in magic, or well watched in a more modern context of magic videos is very helpful. I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel to take Harry’s method a step forward. I always tell people that the hard part is designing a card that goes from zero to sixty miles per hour (what Harry did), the easy part is getting that car to go from sixty to one hundred miles per hour (what I did). Learn all you can, even tricks and/or methods you don’t think you’ll ever use. It gives you more knowledge to pull from when trying to solve problems.