Years ago Charlie Frye put out a little gimmick that let you spin a poker chip on your finger tip called Frye’s Chips. Here’s the video of it:
It’s a clever little gimmick that does exactly what’s in the video. I always thought it’d be cool to do it with a coin and not a poker chip. However I think the reason he did it with a poker chip is that it’s easier to gimmick a poker chip than a coin.
The idea has been in my head and a couple months ago I was at Hocus-Pocus digging around in some junk magic bins and found the card and coin for the trick Esoteric Kennedy.
Here’s the demo of Esoteric Kennedy:
The coin from that trick should work for the Frye’s Chips trick. Now I need to make the other half of the gimmick to see if it will actually spin on my finger!
In playing with the Esoteric Kennedy props, I thought that the trick really should be done with a dollar bill, as the coin and card really aren’t connected. I moved the gimmick from the card to a dollar bill:
It looks OK on a video, but I’m going to be 100% honest, the trick isn’t good for actual performance…whether it’s the original version with the card, or my version with the bill. The problem with the trick is that everything is gimmicked and nothing can be examined. You could switch out all of the props, do a Bobo Switch for the coin and top change for the card, but is all that work worth the trick?
In my show I do a bit where a kid gets a dollar, loses the dollar, and eventually gets another dollar bill. I thought it would be fun instead of giving the kid a paper dollar. I swung by a coin shop and picked up some Eisenhower Dollar coins.
The problem I’m running into is that the kids don’t know what a silver dollar is and maybe 10% don’t want to take it. The finale of the routine plays a lot better when the kid takes the dollar (paper or coin) at the end. If the kid doesn’t take the dollar, the routine has a feeling like I hustled the kid, and that affects the applause at the end.
I’ve added a line that adds some context to what I’m handing the kid. I say, “…a silver dollar…also known as a giant quarter” and that’s upping my acceptance rate. I’m also thinking of buying it off the kid for a two dollar bill. I’ll have to swing by a bank and pick some up, that may be the solution…
Yesterday I posted a dollar bill trick where the dollar was used to produce a tiny bible. The “bible” was one I made was just some paper that was stapled together, covered with duct tape and wrote on it in white pen (These pens are also handy for marking cards!).
The homemade bible is fine for a test run, but the first thing the people I’ve shown this to did was flip through it. That tells me it needs to be a real bible or at least pass the flip test. There are certain things where having the object people want to touch be real and not something that pretends to be real makes the trick stronger. There’s a sense of disappointment if someone realizes that the oranges you use in cups and balls aren’t real. It doesn’t make the trick any less amazing, but it takes them out of the magic headspace there were in. With that in mind I went out and hunted down a tiny bible!
Sometimes it’s the little things that add a lot to the trick. Having it be a real bible makes it more than a sight gag…not much more, but it does elevate the trick!
A couple of weeks ago my daughter got a Cricut Machine which is used for die cutting. I’ve been meaning to start coming up with ideas for magic tricks with it. The first thing I did was have her try to cut a dollar bill. It worked! That lead to my next idea, which is cutting a playing card into a dollar bill. This is a pretty lame idea as far as ideas go.
Most of my ideas were using it to cut reveals into the dollar bill. However I did have one idea, that was a little more inspired. If there was a thought bubble drawn with a marker on it. The thought bubble would go around part of the serial number. The serial number then rearranges itself for a reveal, and the bill could be given out.
Method wise, it wouldn’t be hard to do and I’ve got a few ideas for how to accomplish it.
It’s been years since I really borrowed anything from the audience to use in my show. The reason for that is simple, it’s a huge time suck, with no guarantee. Sure you can ask to borrow a dollar, but that does mean you aren’t going to spend three minutes asking for one and never get … Continue reading “The Dollar Dilemma…”
It’s been years since I really borrowed anything from the audience to use in my show. The reason for that is simple, it’s a huge time suck, with no guarantee. Sure you can ask to borrow a dollar, but that does mean you aren’t going to spend three minutes asking for one and never get one. I wrote about one solution to this the other day and you can read that here.
Another solution that I came up with is to have a two dollar bill. I know what you are thinking, “aren’t those rare?”. The government still makes two dollar bills, I get them at my bank, just ask for them. You are going to set up the borrow a dollar that’s sort of like preshow, but doing it openly in the routine before the one where you need to borrow a dollar, so it’s pre-routine.
The trick before the trick where you need to borrow a dollar bill you need to tell the audience that in about five minutes you are going to do a trick with a dollar bill. If you use your own dollar bill, everyone will think it’s a trick dollar, so you’d like to buy a dollar bill off of someone for two dollar. Bring out the two dollar bill and tell them the first person to offer you a dollar bill when you ask in a few minutes gets the genuine two dollar bill.
Offering to buy the dollar bill I think takes away the fear that you will destroy or somehow ruin their money. Giving someone in the audience something more interesting that a dollar bill and an immediate profit should motivate them to give you a buck.
Mentioning you need to borrow the bill before you actually need it gives people time to dig it up. Also the idea that it someone else could get the two dollar bill gives people incentive to get the money out sooner. You could ask to borrow the bill within the same routine that you need it as long as there’s some set up that gives you something to do while people are getting out the dollar bill.
The big problem I think that magicians have is that they don’t realize how long it takes to actually borrow a dollar bill. They then end up with a dead spot in the show, that’s not just a dead spot, but an uncomfortable dead spot.