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Topic: Another thread tip for Magic Worm workers
Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 5, 2007 10:44AM)
I recently found this little tidbit about thread work on the "Ask Mr. Magic" section of the ALLMAGIC.COM website. I learned a lot from it, and thought it would be quite helpful to everyone who is pitching Magic Worms, Fuzzles, and Wonder Mice. We often have to work under less than ideal conditions, and whatever you can do to keep things invisible is always good.

[i]Dear Mr. Magic,
What's the best background for camouflaging invisible thread?

Dear Magician,
Good question. The answer is not a black background. Many magicians are unaware that a solid black background is probably the worse background to use in an attempt to conceal threads and fine lines from notice.

There are three issues that have to be dealt with in keeping invisible items invisible.

First, the lighting. Overhead and back lighting can cast unwanted shadows and actually highlight what you're trying to conceal. Fluorescent lighting is also a problem because of color of light it produces. Often you can't do much about the lighting, but you should be aware of it. You may be able to position yourself in the best possible spot considering the available lighting.

Second, the background. A busy background is best. Old time magicians sometimes used Persian carpets with their intricate designs to hide wire forms and other objects. Any cloth with several colors repeated in a small pattern will do the job. There are also theatrical fabrics that have a bit of glitter or reflection to them.

Third, foreground. Every object is potentially distracting to the eye. So it is possible to create distractions in front of you (on your magic table or working surface) that make it more difficult to see what is going on. This also includes the outfit you'll be wearing yourself. Obviously a white suit isn't a good idea, but a black one might not be either. Be aware that your costume is an issue.

Finally, don't work with your hands and arms tight to your body. It you extend your arms out a bit so that the magic happens as far away from your body as possible, you'll discover that things like invisible thread are more difficult to see than if you work with your hands close to your body.

If you think of just about any performing space as a theater and then consider how you can best present your magic in the given situation, you'll be well on your way to amazing your audience and keeping the invisible unnoticed.[/i]

Hope this is helpful. With regard to the principle of a "busy background," I have found that the "Dockers" brand shirts at Sears come in fairly bright plaids. They aren't too expensive and seem to be very good for providing the proper background. SETH
Message: Posted by: Brady (Sep 7, 2007 08:08PM)
If you like vests, Daytona Magic has a magician's vest (with 14 pockets) that has a gold and silver dragon pattern. It does a great job of protecting the secret.


Message: Posted by: HypnotizeAmerica (Sep 23, 2007 11:59PM)
I went to our local state fair and saw a guy with the magic worm. He was asking $6 for it and after I watched it I knew the secret but had to reward him for a great little show. Heck now I've got my own magic worm ;-)
Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 24, 2007 02:18PM)
Hey, everybody needs a magic worm!!

Just curious, HypnotizeAmerica, what tipped you to the secret? Was it the handling, or something you saw, or what? SETH
Message: Posted by: HypnotizeAmerica (Sep 24, 2007 04:00PM)
It's the fact that little bit of magic/mentalism I know made me start asking how it was done. Figured it was the IT, told him I was going to buy one but wanted to know if I was right. He said I was.

His handling was great and both times I saw him he had a great crowd and had sold a bunch of them. either way it was worth the $6 to learn it and I had fun playing with the magic worm yesterday and today.
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Sep 24, 2007 08:45PM)
Here's a tip from an old school "grafter" named Charlie ("George") Edwards from London back in the 1940's.

He said the proper place to tie the IT for your worm (mouse, etc...) was NOT on your shirt or jacket button, but rather to the zipper on your fly! As he put it, "Nobody's gonna look dahn at yer flies!"

This, and other great ways to handle things in a pitch, can be found in an old (1976) book called Magic In Store "The Magic Pitchman's Handbook" by Val Andrews, published by Micky Hades Intnl. of Canada.

Mark. :)
Message: Posted by: sethb (Sep 25, 2007 06:55AM)
Mark, thanks for the tip, very cute.

The reason I asked was because I always get lots of kids (and even some adults!) calling out what they think is the secret. Kids tend to view the worm either as a very neat mysterious novelty or a puzzle to be solved. So when they yell out, "It's a string!" I just say "Well, that's a good guess" and keep on going. It really is a guess anyway, they usually have no idea. I also try to throw folks off the scent by giving false clues, such as "Maybe it's magnets, maybe it's static electricity, maybe it's my body heat -- but only Willie the Worm knows for sure, and he's not talking!"

One time I had a fellow grab the worm off my hand to examine it. Luckily, the IT snapped at the worm end, so he was truly amazed when he found that there was nothing for him to discover (BTW, he bought one). Serves him right!

From a distance of 18 inches or more, with proper lighting and background, the IT really is invisible, so in my opinion the only way you're going to tip the effect is by poor handling or a tangle, which happens once in a while. At indoor craft shows and flea markets, sometimes I'm in a room with very strong fluorescent lighting, which seems to make the IT glisten and just makes my job harder. But what can you do? SETH
Message: Posted by: mrunge (Sep 25, 2007 10:31AM)
Seth, Those are great ideas for dealing with people who can't help but try to bust you.

Thanks for sharing your tips.