When my summer season ended a few weeks ago, I had a 14 hour drive home. During my travels over the summer I found some magic audio cassette tapes, so I bought a cheap tape player and listened to magic on the drive home!
It was really interesting to listen to two different Dai Vernon lectures without being able to see anything. I was kinda amazed that I was mostly able to follow what what he was explaining. It did help that I was familiar with his books from when I was a teenager and had worked through most of the stuff decades ago.
The Radio Magic tape by Steve Shaw (Banachek) and Scott Wells has a lot of great information that still applies today! It’s solid advice for doing a radio or podcast spot and a lot of that applies to doing things like TV morning shows or news spots.
I barely got into the Kreskin and Dunniger tapes. The Kreskin ones were audio of a TV show. It’s interesting to listen to them, they’re from 1972 and the material he’s doing is still solid material! Kreskin was ahead of his time!
Just because something is on an old, outdated medium doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it!
Lately I’ve been popping into virtual open mics and there’s something that drives me crazy. It’s when performers say, “If you were here I’d have you ____” and usually fill in the blank with something like, “shuffle the cards” or whatever. It’s been almost two years since we’ve moved to virtual, you don’t need to say that. If you haven’t figured out how to do the trick without someone in the room yet, virtual performing may not be for you.
HOWEVER, I do think there is a place to mention that “if it was an in person show, I’d have you _____” and that’s to cover a method. More specifically to rule out a method. A good example of this in an in person show is when Kreskin does the linking finger rings and he exposes the gimmick and says he doesn’t use that.
In a virtual show context, you could say, “If you were here I’d have you shuffle the cards, but you’re not, so I’ll shuffle them…” then you do a false shuffle. The key would be to put a little bit of distance between the false shuffle and a crazy revelation that would only be possible with a deck that was in a special order. Doing a false shuffle and then doing something like Any Card At Any Number would probably be fine without putting in any time misdirection.
To sum it up, don’t tell the audience how you would do things if conditions were different…they aren’t attending an in person show and they know that.
A while ago I saw Kreskin do his show and hypno show. One thing that struck me was his “induction” to people onstage. Kreskin handed them a card, and they passed it around while he played the piano. As they passed the card around the people (mostly) fell asleep. From the audience’s perspective it was really cool to watch.
I’ve been told that the card says something like, “Please play along and go to sleep”. I don’t know for sure, but that gave me an idea, here’s how it would look: You have a big QR code and you have everyone onstage scan it. They all look at their phones and fall asleep. Also you turn the card around and have the audience scan it if they want to follow along. They see a “hypno wheel” spiraling. You then do your hypno show.
Here’s what’s really happening is one of two things. The first solution, is the QR code changes to another image at a certain point. So the first qr code has the message to play along, then changes to an image of a hypno wheel. When you have the audience scan it, it’s already changed to the image of the wheel and the play along message is gone. The other method would be a flap card, so the audience is actually scanning a different link. With this method, you’d still want the original scan to change so that no one could see the first message.