I’m excited to say that the old, larger size of the Evaporation trick will be available again soon! The original 16 oz bottles haven’t been available for a long time, but I’ve just found a bunch of them, so I’m making up a batch of about a hundred of them soon!
I should have these bottles gimmicked in the next couple of days and they’ll be available on my website and shipped out to Murphy’s Magic, so available at your favorite dealer soon!
Years ago I built a set of soft pins for the linking pins trick out of giant 5 inch safety pins. These aren’t as easy to make as you’d think. There are a couple of challenges, like the safety pin take a lot of force to open and close. The tension on the spring make getting the pin over the lip a challenge to open and close the soft pin.
My solution was to cut off the lip of the safety pin, so that the the pin had less distance to travel, making it easier to open and close the soft pin.
That partially solved the problem the of opening and closing the soft pin. The final part was to shorten the needle of the pin, so that it was easier to load things on and off of the safety pin.
After that, the final alteration was to bend the pin so that it functioned like a traditional soft pin. I’ve been using these pins for years and they work great. I’ve seen in magic groups on the internet people ask about gimmicking these giant safety pins and other magicians say that you can’t. Those magicians are wrong and I’ve intentionally not really mentioned you could. I liked keeping this thing for me…or so I thought.
Recently while digging through a junk magic bin I found this:
In this book from 1994, Jose De La Torre came to almost the exact same solution as me…but 30 years before me! While I’m disappointed I’m not the first person to solve this problem, I’m also not surprised. Scaling it up in size logical extension of the close up linking safety pins.
I’m getting ready to offer my Take Out Box to magicians. This is a Chinese style take out box that you can use to produce, vanish or change items. There’s a lot that goes into making thing for sale, and one of them is shipping. I made a batch in a slightly larger size but decided to go with the smaller size for the main marketed version. This was mostly due to packing/shipping concerns.
Here’s the Take Out Box in action:
I had 3d printed about a dozen gimmicks in the slightly larger size and instead of throwing them away, I’m offering them at a discount.
With the Take Out Box you’ll get a fully assembled box with 3d printed gimmick installed, a template to use when moving the gimmick to a new box, video instructions and two ungimmicked take out boxes.
These will be available through Hocus-Pocus.com and and here on my daily magic blog at www.magicshow.tips in a few weeks and will be $40.
Save $10 and get FREE USA SHIPPING!
I was playing around with making them in a slightly larger size, but decided to keep the size that I use. This choice was based on packaging them for retail sale. I made about a dozen of the larger size and if you want one of the larger ones you can get them for $30 with free shipping in the USA!
International shipping is a flat rate of just $10!
For years I’ve used a sponge tennis ball in my show. I only use it as a one time production item. The first two sets I had were made by Alan Wong. Sometime between my two purchases, he changed how they were made and the newer ones were more dense and didn’t pop open nearly as well as the first (older) set.
I’ve been searching for a new set as my original set is pretty beat up looking and I recently found a set of sponge tennis balls by Daba
I will say that I’m not a fan of the routine, as when you squish the balls, it takes away from the earlier productions. The first half of the routine is good, but the second half I don’t like. The sponge tennis balls are great! They compress very small, and pop open nicely! They will make great replacements for my original Alan Wong set!
If you need a sponge tennis ball, I recommend these!
For years I’ve had an idea of doing a chop cup style routine that doesn’t use a table. The big drawback of a chop cup onstage is the table, it cuts blocks the view of anyone who is sitting below the table top.
Probably 20 years ago I saw Charlie Chaplin’s daughter’s husband do the chop cup in their theater show. I saw it twice, once from the balcony and it was great, and the second time from the floor and couldn’t see much.
Seeing that show really changed how I perform, I don’t have any action that happens on the table top in my parlor or stage shows. If they can’t see it, they can’t enjoy it.
Now, back to the chop cup, I’ve always said creating with rule makes creating much easier. Here are the main conditions:
1: Plays big enough for parlor/stage no table
2: No one from the audience onstage IF their only purpose is to use their hands as a table/surface
3: Quick set up, ideally just grab the cup and go –I think this is the condition I may have to bend on as when there’s a final load, it’s usually not self contained.
The idea is that this will be something that could be used as an MC spot or a solo piece in a bigger show to break up things where you use people from the audience.
Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
Here’s what I don’t like about what I have:
1: The steal of the second ball from the sleeve. -I need to make a ball dropper/hold and steal it from the edge of my coat
2: Don’t like that my hand goes to the pocket. -It makes the final load production more impossible if you never put your hand in your pocket.
3: It really needs a second kicker after the pool ball appears. -Not sure how to make this happen…if you have any ideas let me know!
This is definitely something that I’m going to keep working on, I really like the idea. I don’t know if it’ll ever meet all of my conditions and desires for it, but you never know until you try!
A while ago I order one of Daniel Summers’s Baby Lindy Vanishing Bird Cages. This is the Jim Riser Baby Lindy Vanishing Cage that’s built by Daniel. Jim Riser’s cages are sought after for magicians as he didn’t make a lot of them as he’s not currently making them, didn’t sell them to just anyone, you had to prove you could do the cage for him to sell you one. It’s great that Jim has authorized Summers to make them for him.
Mine showed up in the mail the other day:
It comes with a pull, canary and carrying bag.
When collapsed it will fit through my wedding ring:
I hooked it up to my Take Up Reel and in theory, I won’t need to change the pull length as it will take the corner to the same spot in my sleeve as the Owen Vanishing Bird Cage that I’m currently using.
After practicing with it, there’s a lot I like about it. It’s just the right amount of rigid, not too stiff and not too floppy. It’s smaller than I thought it would be, for some perspective, it’s slightly larger than a Milson Worth Silver Meteor Vanishing Cage. When the vanish is complete, the bottom goes past my elbow, so I have more use of my are than I do with the Owen cage.
As for what I don’t like about it, there’s really nothing I don’t like about it. If I had to come up with something, I guess it would be the price. I’m not complaining about the price, I understand what goes into making them, it’s just a big leap from the cost of an Owen cage. I do think the Summers/Riser cage is 100% worth it!
I really like this cage, and can’t wait to start to use it in my shows next week! -Louie
I frequently say that creating magic is just problem solving. Lately I’ve been writing about using a chinese take out box as a production box. Logistically, I have the hiding of the load and the showing of the box empty figured out.
The challenge is when is “good enough” good enough?
Right now the production from the box works with a box that’s plain white on both sides. I want to have a box that’s plain white on the inside and on the outside it will have the a red Asian looking logo of some sort. That’s the thing that really establishes it as a Chinese Take Out Box from a distance.
I just ordered a bunch of take out boxes and I’m going to play with a couple ideas for being able to show one side plain and the other side with a logo. We’ll see how it goes…
I’m still going through the book The Artist’s Way, which is a book about being more creative. It’s a 12 week program that has a lot of writing you need to do. I’m just starting week two, and I’ll say, I’m getting more than I expected to get out of it.
For me, the big thing is the morning writing you do each day. It’s just putting a pen to paper and writing for three pages. It’s a free writing scenario, you write whatever’s on your mind. I’ve had a couple of great ideas come out of the writing. It’s also giving me more depth as a person on and off stage as it’s making me explore some internal things that I might not really have looked at.
One of the ideas that came out of the daily writing is a trick with a jar of candy. The jar is full, then I produce candy and when you look back at the jar, it’s now half full. You then put the candy you just made appear back into the jar and it’s full again. The method is solid, and practical. I wouldn’t really have this trick it if it wasn’t for the daily morning writing. I still need to make the trick…but it wouldn’t exist on paper at least without the morning writing!