Yesterday I wrote about doing a “spectator as mind reader” type effect and it having to be a clean trick from a method standpoint. The spectator who reads the mind must be unaware of how you get them to reveal what the other person is thinking. Today I’m going to talk about something similar, but the opposite way, where at the end everyone knows how the trick was done. This doesn’t just apply to mentalism, but to magic.
Let’s start with a premise everyone knows, which is paper balls over the head. Personally I dislike this trick, because it has no ending. Sure, you could produce a bowling ball from the tissue at the end or something like that. In its standard for you are basically telling the same joke over and over, there is no punctuation on the trick.
One way some people end it is to reveal the paperballs on the floor to the person. The problem with that is there is a bridge missing, the person doesn’t know how they got there, they just see them on the floor. Did the disappear and reappear there…you miss the moment where they are let in on the gag. Watch Michael Finney do the card on the forehead, it ends when we get to see the person onstage react to the finally seeing the card. You’ll never get the same reaction when the person sees the paper balls, plus they will be turned around looking at them, so we can’t see them.
My point is when you do a trick where everyone knows how the trick works, except one person, you need to completely let them in on the trick. You have to essentially tell them what happened, or they will not react well because they are trying to cross a bridge that’s not there. The challenge is to completely reveal the trick in a second or two. At a glance the person on stage should be able to figure out what happened.