One thing I’ve realized as I’m out there talking more and more about the vanishing birdcage is how many magicians have never actually seen it done live. Many have seen it on an old video of Blackstone, but not live. At a virtual magic lecture someone asked me about my Take Up Reel that I used with a vanishing birdcage, so I gave a quick talk about it.
I think most magicians dismiss the cage as they think it’s much simpler than it actually is. There’s a lot more to doing it consistently than simply pushing your arms forward. However when they see it done in real time they realize how amazing the trick is! -Louie
It seems the Vanishing Birdcage is getting more and more popular right now, and I think it’s because there are some more cage options on the market right now than there were 5 years ago. I personally love the trick and have for years. The thing about the trick that I think easily gets forgotten is that you need to have a bird, or something in the cage.
That’s where Billy McComb‘s routine with the mouse really shines. It gives a purpose for the cage and puts focus on the cage. In the later Tommy Wonder videos of him doing the vanishing birdcage, it’s an empty cage that disappears. There is a video out there of an early version of Tommy doing it where he does it under a see through cloth, however the cage has a “mouse” in it.
In my routine it’s about the bird, here’s the very end of it:
When the bird is the focal point of the routine and not the cage, the take the audiences focus away from the funky looking cage. If all they have to look at is the cage, it’s easy for them to quickly realize it’s a trick cage.
I use a Nielsen Magic Latex Canary, and I’ve kinda been hoarding them. Whenever I see them at a magic swap meet, I buy them, or when I’m ordering some other trick from a place that sells them, I’ll add one into my order. The canaries are pretty cheap at $10, however, they won’t be around forever. I figure as long as I use them, might as well have them around.
Today was a fun day for the incoming mail, I had three different vanishing birdcages show up! The first is an birdcage from India, this one has the side bars made at a 90 degree angle difference from how most are made. It could have been made left handed??
This cage vanishes fine, it’s just got a lot of rough edges, that you’ll have to spend sometime filing down.
The second cage that came is an older “martin style” that once belonged to Bryce Chambers (inventor of the Bryce’s screen illusion). It’s damaged and ad an attempt at repair at some point.
The notches in the corner posts are interesting. They appear to have been put there by the manufacturer. The do make the cage a bit more sleek when collapsed, but it appears (to my eye) to be a negligible amount.
The third cage is an Owens Challenge Vanishing Cage. This one, I’m hoping to have be my new working cage. My current working cage is one that was given to me as a teenager, and it has missing bars.
This cage looks great, however it’s pretty stiff. It’s going to need some breaking in. I put in on a pull and it vanished way better than I thought it would have with how stiff it is. I’ll keep working with it and it should loosen up!