I’m a huge fan of Richard Himber’s magic. He’s put out some really interesting stuff and generally did a really good job of branding it. That’s why we have the Himber Ring the Himber Wallet and my personal favorite the Himber Pail.
At a recent auction a Himber Silver Rocket box was for sale and I managed to get it at a reasonable price. This is a box that’s about 6 x 4 x 4 inches that is show empty by opening all of the sides. The sides are then closed and you produce a lot of silks from it.
I really like the way the load chamber moves around for the production. It’s a great example of economy of motion in apparatus.
There are some props that have always baffled me as they don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. The props for the Rice, Orange and Checkers trick is one of them. Below is a Rings n’ Things set that I own:
The middle container is the rice vase where you fill with rice, then rice turns into an orange. At the hotel I’m at, I found what I think it’s supposed to be in real life:
I don’t think anyone has really used containers like that in my lifetime, but I found what they rice vase is supposed to look like! I now only slightly less dislike the Rice, Orange and Checkers trick.
A little while ago I agreed to do a school assembly tour next year. I’ll be doing 2-4 shows a day for about 8 weeks. For me doing these tours is about generating new material. Doing 15-20 shows a week, you really can take something and polish it, or know it’s not for you.
I was trying to think of a something to tie a bunch of unrelated ideas together. It hit me the other day, use idioms as the thing that links everything. An idiom is a saying, like “a broken clock is right twice a day” or “keep me in the loop“.
Those are two examples of things I’m working on right now for the show.
A while ago I ended up with a lot of vintage magic props. One of them is the stand for an old vanishing alarm clock. I went out and ordered an alarm clock with bells that ring and rigged it to work with a remote control. The idea is that alarm clock will come out of a box. It will be covered up with a handkerchief and hang on the stand. It will ring, then vanish. Then there will be ringing from the box it originally came out of and it will be back inside the box!
I’m excited to be able to have a use for a prop like this in my show, as this style of prop doesn’t normally have a spot in what I do.
A couple of months ago I had a garage sale find of a lot of vintage magic. I sold most of the props a few weeks ago. I kinda regretted selling the spirit bell that was part of that find. Well, the magic gods led me to another spirit bell! This one belonged to John Pomeroy whose company was GEM magic.
This one is a little bit bigger than the previous one that I had, it’s also heavier. The nice thing is that I have an extra glass bell. This one doesn’t have a stand, but it does have the wand that makes it ring.
The wand on this one has a better design than on the other one. The previous one had a button you pressed, where this one has a button you slide. The sliding action is more ergonomic and makes your hand move less when the bell rings.
Life is funny sometimes, I’ve never seen a spirit bell in person, and in the span of four months, I’ve owned two different ones!
A couple of months ago I got a lot of vintage magic at a garage sale and one of the things was a vanishing alarm clock stand (no clocks). I also have a lot of remote control units here, so I made a remote control alarm clock:
When you push the button the alarm rings
I’m not sure how I’m going to do this in the show. Traditionally you cover the clock and hang it from the stand. When you hang it, it starts ringing and you pull away the cloth and the alarm clock is gone. Then the alarm clock reappears somewhere else. I think I’ll use the remote control alarm clock as the one that reappears and the ringing is how it will announce it’s reappearance.
About a hundred years ago, there were a lot of tricks where objects when through a hat. Stanley Collins had several giant dice through hat methods, and I think P & L made a dice thru hat as well. Then there’s glass through hat. I have one that’s about 100 years old, and while I think it’s over engineered for the effect, it is fun to do.
Here’s my first time trying it out:
From a method standpoint, it’s an interesting solution to making a glass penetrate a hat. I don’t think it’s the best solution and I would never do it in a show, however it is fun to practice! That the thing with magic is that you have to have fun, I still love magic. It’s not just my job, I love learning about it, I love playing with it and I love performing it.
The estate sale that I picked up magic from last week had a lot of magic from the 1930’s. It’s really interesting how magic changes over time and the trends seem to stick for a long time. The 1930’s was the era of everything being nickel / chrome plated!
Not too long after this era, we entered the brightly colored boxes with Asian characters on them. Currently we’re in the time of “everyday props” or props that pretend to be everyday items. However there is some movement to using props that don’t resemble everyday items as a “special” moment in the show.
There are soo many crazy methods to these tricks and soo many of them are over engineered by today’s standards on how to accomplish things. For example this table was used to make glass disappear!
The crazy thing is that the glass isn’t that big, it’s maybe 8-10 ounces! There are better ways to do it…but they’re a little bit harder and not as fun to play with! -Louie
Many years ago I used to buy magic collections of magicians who had passed. I would keep the books or props that I wanted and resell the rest. It’s been a while since I have done that for myself. Last year a did sell off a collection of magic that was a friend of mine who had passed and all the money went to his son.
The other day I was contacted about a magic collection and went out and picked it up. The person had one of my Evaporation tricks, and this was from the original run of 36 that I sold at a magic convention in Canada.
One thing that I think people don’t realize is that most of the stuff in a magic collection is worthless. Usually about half is unsellable because it’s damaged, counterfeit or shipping would cost more than the prop.
You should be realistic about what your collection is worth and to not really count things that have a used value of less than $20. Sure, they do add up, but they are hard as hell to sell!