A long time ago I wrote an idea in a notebook, and it’s something I’ll never do, but even those ideas are important to write down. It needs a gimmick that I don’t have and have fallen out of fashion. A few weeks ago I was digging through the bins of broken and incomplete magic at Hocus-Pocus and found the needed gimmick to make the gimmick for my idea!
Here’s the trick (my idea is at the end):
I don’t think anyone has really used a match pull for a reproduction of the match after the vanish in a thumb tip. Usually they are used simply for the production of a lit match, then used to light flash paper/string in a stage manipulation act.
Unfortunately I think this trick is 50 years too late as magic with matches is really out of fashion with there being virtually no venues that allow smoking and with fire getting more and more difficult to insure. Had I thought of this in the 1970’s I would have a sure fire hit!
I figure I should try the Murphy’s Magic Color Match sets in a show…since I own them. I don’t like the markers that the set comes with, so I had to pull out the gimmicks and put them into a new set of pens.
On a side note, on the Murphy’s Magic Color Match Video, they mention removing the gimmicks, but then don’t talk about it…at least not that I watched. I will say I didn’t watch the whole video, the routines don’t interest me right now, so it could be buried in those instructions. It’s not listed (that I saw) on the table of contents.
I’ll give them a try later today and we’ll see how it turns out…
A couple of weeks ago I picked up Presti Cup by Edouard Boulanger. Here’s the trailer for it:
What I like about it is a lot of the action happens off the table. He method is interesting and the wand could be replaced by something like an Enigma Gimmick. I do think that the wand makes the moves more deceptive, however I don’t use a want in any show other than my children’s show. So if this is something I end up doing, I’ll need to figure out how to justify the wand, or how to eliminate it.
I think with an Enigma Gimmick this routine would end up similar to Axel Hecklau’s Just a Cup, which is a great routine. I do like that the ball is physically larger than a die.
The other day I was at a magic shop in Mesa, AZ and I bought an auto spring fan of cards on a whim. If you don’t know what an Auto Spring Fan is, it’s a packet of cards that pops open into a fan automatically. I thought I was probably just going to have a kid hold them in pictures after the show.
During the drive to the gig, I thought about what else could be done with them. There’s not a lot you can do besides open them. Then I got an idea, they could be used as a card revelation. The idea is the whole fanned deck would turn into the selected card.
I realized that if I held the closed deck face down and fanned them so that I was tightening the spring, I could show the backs of the cards on the edge that’s normally hidden.
This allows me to have all the cards on the back (except for the top card) to have the corner shown when fanned to be the same card. Having the top card change would simply be making a flap card.
…at least that’s how it is in my head. Now to actually make the gimmick, which is the real work!
A while ago I bought Measure for Measure by Iain Bailey which is a prediction using a tape measure. You pull out the tape and someone says stop and you’ve predicted where they say stop. Here’s the promo video for it:
I think it’s a great trick, but the method didn’t really work for me. There’s a move that needs to happen, and it’s not hard to do, but the move just didn’t work for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, because it’s not, it’s a great trick. The method didn’t work for me.
I ordered a few tape measures and got to playing around with altering Iain’s gimmick.
What I ended up with is a tape measure that starts legitimately closed, ends legitimately closed and is 100% self working, there’s no move. I also upped the width of the tape to the Stanley Fat Max tape measure, so it’ll play a little bit bigger. As a bonus, you can see the prediction retract with the tape as you close it.
Here’s a quick demo of what my solution looks like:
I want to be clear that I’m not knocking Iain’s release, it’s a great trick and I think it would work for most people out of the box. Also, the hard part of creating magic is the first 90%, from the initial idea to a finished product for how the creator wants it to work. The final 10% is easy, and my “improvement” was the easy part, since the idea and gimmick already existed.
Also when it comes to marketing magic, there are a lot of choices that have to be made. Sometimes a method won’t be the best, but more accessible to the majority of magicians, or something that may seem like a small, insignificant tweak will triple the cost per unit.
I’m heading out on the road in about a week, I’m excited to give my version of Measure for Measure a try in front of real audiences! -Louie
Frequently I’m asked to make little promo videos for events that I’m performing. Here’s one a made for a gig a few days ago:
They wanted me to thank the sponsors and to do a quick trick. One of my “go to tricks” for situations like that are flap cards for a quick color change. I do the first change in the glass (which as far as I know I’m the first to do) which I think adds to the impossibility of it changing. Then the second is just the toss change.
Having a quick and visual trick you can do for things like this helpful. Also essentially having a formula for doing videos for events, so you’re not reinventing the wheel every time. I just grab my glass and card and I’m good to go!
Many years ago when I was working at Market Magic Shop, I used to demo and sell a trick called Silver Extraction. The effect is you take a half dollar and it ends up turning into a blob of silver and a clear coin. Then at some point someone made a coin that was just the copper center of a half dollar. I don’t know what the routine was, but I’m going to assume it was a similar effect.
I always thought it would be great paired with the blob of silver that came with the Johnson Silver Extraction. Unfortunately they stopped making the Silver Extraction a long time ago, so that was something I never did. Well, recently I came across one of the blobs of silver and bought it.
Now that I have the two of them, I can try it out!
Here’s another one of my videos where I try to improve packet tricks that I’ve come across. This one is called It’s a Joke-r by Bill Pryor. Here’s the video of it done with the original instructions and then a revised version for a real audience:
The trick is sort of a Princess Card Trick with a kicker, but it’s poorly executed. The whole part of putting a card in your pocket, just to pull it out I don’t like. I also don’t like waiting for the audience to want to turn over the cards on the table for the kicker to happen. If they do turn them over, it’s great, but if they don’t, the trick is just OK.
The changes I made of have a card thought of by me and the person from the audience gives the trick a little more depth. Then never putting a card in my pocket, but keeping it in my hand adds a lot to the trick. Finally having a reason for them to turn over the cards to discover the jokers guarantees they get revealed.
This is a trick that takes up way too much pocket space for how good the trick is. I don’t think the original or my revised version justifies the use of space.
Yesterday I was back home briefly before flying to Los Angeles to record a few routines for a TV show. While I was packing up to fly, I learned that the speaker stand that I’ve been using in my virtual shows as my table base didn’t fit into my case, it was about 3 inches too long! I switched to using a speaker stand early into doing virtual shows because I was able to raise it higher than a traditional magician’s table. That made it easier to frame my face and table in the same camera shot. You can read more about that here:
The solution was pretty simple, I unscrewed the attachment at the top, then cut off a few inches with my Dremel. Also if you don’t have a Dremel or similar tool, you should get one, they are super handy!
While I was out there I also noticed the smaller bar that moves up and down didn’t need to be as long as it was, so I chopped it in half. That will reduce weight for future trips if I fly with this again. Ideally I’ll just use a speaker stand provided by the venue.
Luckily it was a simple solution to shorten the speaker stand. I’ve always said that being a professional magician is 90% problem solving!