I remember a long time ago chatting with Dr. Lloyd Cripe who was a brain doctor and now retired and he said, “everyone collects something” and at the time I didn’t realize it, but I was starting to collect Three Shell Game sets. Currently I have a giant collection of shells, and it getting harder to find shell sets that I don’t already have.
I found this lot at a magic auction site:
I don’t have the upper set of gold shells. I can’t tell what they are made from, it could be plastic or metal, I won’t know until they show up. It looks like I was the only bidder, so I got them for the opening bid price, which is nice!
I’ve had the Dr. Beaumont Shell Game book in the past, and it’s been a while since I’ve read it. I’ll give it a reread when it arrives with the shells and probably sell it with the Vernet Shells which come with this lot.
If you’ve got a unique or uncommon set of shells, send me a note, I’d love to see a pic of them!
The fair I’m performing at this week has me doing street shows. On the mornings of the slower days I’m doing some more close up style magic for people. Here’s a sample of what I’m doing:
You can see part of the Horizontal Ambitious Card that I recently started doing. It currently has three phases, ending with the card inside the card box. I’m really having a lot of fun with the routine, as it gives me a lot more room to play with the audience within the trick.
This is why it’s important to keep playing with a trick, even when you it’s a solid trick and your “A” material. If you keep playing you can find new bits or ways to do it. I’m of the mindset that a trick is never finished!
These are made from the original mold and look great!
I like the shape of this shell with it’s high top. It covers any flash if your fingers have a gap at the back of the shell. The shape of the shell really poops the pea out the back nicely!
I have several sets of shells made from this mold:
What I like the Medina Set is that it looks semi realistic, less like plastic that’s pretending to be a shell than the other sets. I’m home for a couple of weeks doing local shows that are all stage shows, so I won’t be able to try them out for real until I hit the road…but I’m excited to try them!
I don’t get it when magicians are annoyed when people in the audience want to show them a magic trick. If I was guessing it comes down to an ego thing. When I’m doing roving close up magic, I always let them show me their trick. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at what they show you…usually it’s just the 21 card trick.
Occasionally I get to see this two card change:
However sometimes you get to see an amazing trick, this is probably what I’d consider the greatest trick I’ve ever had someone in the audience show me!
Letting someone from the audience have their moment makes you a generous performer. Now there are times where it’s inappropriate to have them do a trick, but in 95% of times when they offer there’s really no reason for you not to let them show you the trick aside from you being worried that someone will steal your spotlight.
A few weeks ago I posted about how I’ve started doing the ambitious card effect with the cards spread across the table (read it here). I’ve added a third phase:
The ending with it in the card box is a great third phase.
I have changed the second phase a little bit since I made the video above. I’m putting the selected card second from the top of the deck. What I noticed was happening most of the time was at the second phase, people would very quickly point to the top card. When they do that, I show it’s not there and remove that card. Then I proceed as in the video and it’s getting a great reaction. If the don’t immediately point to the top card, I do the reveal with a double lift and that sets me up for the third phase.
I’ve also made a change to the third phase. I’m setting the card on the table (after the switch) and having them put it into the deck.
A long time ago I was chatting with Nick Lewin and we were talking about the Ambitious Card. He said it was the “greatest card trick ever” and I agree with him! With the base effect, you put a card in the middle and it’s instantly on top. Very easy to follow. I do think that most modern versions are really multiple revelations of a selected card, as it’s more than the card simply jumping to the top.
A couple of weeks ago I started doing the ambitious card from a spread. Here’s what it looks like:
When I do it there are two phases, the first I push the card in and in the second they do. That gives it a sense of build. I like getting to play a little bit with having them move their finger along the spread of cards.
I’m liking doing it this way when I have a table. It doesn’t play the same with the cards spread in my hand. I think it’s because with the cards in my hand, it feels less impossible.
A while ago when I performed at the Moisture Festival I was in shows with Mike Caveney and Tina Lenert. Tina has an amazing act (read about it here) and so does Mike.
Backstage I was talking to Mike about how he got into writing magic books. He was asked to write a book by Bernard Bilis called French Pasteboards. There’s a really cool move in that book called the Bilis Spread. This is a one handed display of three cards, but you really have four cards.
When Mike mentioned that book, I told him I learned to do the Bilis Spread when I was a teenager and he commented that I’m probably the only other person that does the move (aside from Bernard Bilis).
Personally I love little booklets like this, they tend to be overlooked and usually have some fun little nuggets in them! -Louie
Very frequently magicians will post in social media groups that they don’t understand why people want to show them magic tricks. I’ve got no problem with that, and unless it’s at a totally inappropriate time, like in the middle of a formal show, it let them.
I think the reason for this is that magicians have ego problems and they can’t let the spotlight on someone else. Usually it’s a trick like the 21 card trick and it won’t remotely step on anything you’re doing. You can get some great moments out of it, like immediately forcing the card they failed to find if the trick doesn’t work. The key to doing something like that, is acting like it just happened, so it doesn’t look like you’re one upping the person.
I’ve seen some crazy things that I never expecting, like a old guy that did a perfect tabled faro shuffle with my old beat up deck of cards! I then spent the next half an hour with him teaching me the basics of how to do it. Or this guy:
That guy also taught me the basics of ripping a deck of cards in half, and with the help of my friend Todd Gardner who is a strong man I can now rip a deck of cards in half!
Your job is to be an ambassador for the event you’re working, and with that in mind I almost always say YES when someone offers to do a trick!
The trick I’m working on today uses a spoon. Here’s the first proof of concept video of it:
I found the tiny spoon at a garage sale a few months ago, and have been trying to think of a use for it. Obviously it would be some sort of shrinking or growing effect. For the method, I think the first shrink is interesting, the final shrink is less interesting to me.
For the first shrink I really stumbled upon when I was working on a different trick with a spoon, and realized I could essentially make the first shrink self contained. That eliminated the need to have to steal anything or ditch anything initially. Ideally, if I could avoid sleeving the spoon for the second shrink, that would be the best, however I can’t think of a way to do that without ditching the spoon. The nice thing about sleeving (or using a topit) is that you end with nothing palmed.
When I’m doing close up magic, one thing that I don’t do is have people sign cards. There’s frequently a strange hesitancy when you ask people, like they aren’t sure exactly what you want them to do. Instead I have people draw a picture on the card.
I say, “Draw a picture on the card, it can be anything…Bigfoot fighting a ninja, so it’d just be a picture of a bigfoot. I won’t judge you…till later. I don’t care what you draw, I’m not your mom…wouldn’t be the first rocket ship I’ve seen today.” That has 2-3 laughs but it also gives them a moment to think about what to draw and I disarm them about worrying about the drawing being bad. It also takes away the incentive for a teenage boy (or drunk adult) to draw a penis as I’ve already gotten the laugh from that.
The other thing this does is gives me a real moment in the show that’s happening now that I can comment on. I can talk about the picture and everyone knows this is real and not preplanned.
Play around with using alternatives to signatures you might like it.