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Topic: Things I Use... At A Moments Notice
Message: Posted by: Brad Burt (Mar 24, 2003 09:44AM)

I have always loved this topic. Truly impromptu magic routines are, I believe, discovered and nurtured over time by each magician. That said here are some thoughts.

First, I realized right away that the more sleight-of-hand I knew the better off I was. For instance, although I never smoked, many cigarette moves work famously with things like worn down pencils, crayons, even sticks. The ability to make ANY small object vanish and reappear is extremely strong to lay folk.

Chink-A-Chink can be easily done with bottle caps of various sizes. And, Slydini's Paper Balls Over the Head is a killer at a party.

For those of you with a Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic here is one of my favorite 'secrets in print': Learn Two Pennies on the Knee and Tenkai Pennies. They make a truly unbeatable mini routine and only needs two Pennies that look the same wear wise.

If you get some basic Thimble sleights down you will never regret it. Borrowing a thimble is usually not a problem at someone’s home and many objects will substitute for a thimble! Some of the most amazing vanishes I have ever seen were with thimbles.

Some business cards will manipulate like regular playing cards: Elmsleys, etc. for small packet work. Just think…

For the mentalist or magician wanting to add a total STONE COLD KILLER routine into both their regular act and as a superior impromptu item: Lee Earle's CENTER TEAR TEACH-IN. Until you've seen this done you simply can imagine the impact. Lee fooled me very, very bad and I was the one filming the video! But, as an impromptu, anywhere, anytime and get this, you can do it surrounded and in dim-lighting… item this has got to be a standout.

Take care,
Brad Burt
Message: Posted by: BIlly James (Mar 25, 2003 04:51PM)
Yes, I'd have to agree that impromptu routines can sometimes be the best. The way to go, especially if you have a regular gig at a particular venue, is to work out 'impromptu' routines using the things that are lying about at that particular place, eg, napkins, knives, salt shakers, handsome brass tubes with padlocks on, you know that sort of thing.


Billy James
Message: Posted by: Angus (Apr 15, 2003 11:18AM)
To me, the impromptu magic shows more of the magician rather than the gimmick. When I started out I got caught with no "tricks" and realized I was not a magician, I was a guy that bought some cool toys. Things are quickly changing as I learn to use common items.
Message: Posted by: mithrius (Apr 15, 2003 03:02PM)
I couldn't agree more with all of you. I bought an encyclopedia of cigarette magic just to use with pencils and pens. Maybe it's closed-minded of me, but I almost exclusively study magic that I can perform with borrowed items. I know a few good card effects to get me by in case someone hands me a deck of cards, but that's all.

Has anyone been able to apply any other "crossover" effects to random items? I'm talking about old tricks with new props like pool cue chalk, glass ashtrays, compact discs, little hare krishna books...

I'm curious what your wackiest everyday object effects are!
Message: Posted by: jkvand (Apr 15, 2003 09:42PM)
You can do some neat thimble work with the cap from a chapstick tube, and use the tube for some cigarette magic.
Message: Posted by: Mago Mai (Apr 15, 2003 10:09PM)
When I get a request to do magic and I don't have any props on me, I glance at him to see if that person has a ring, a bracelet, a pencil or any small object.

If he doesn't have anything on him I take a coin out of my pocket and vanish it. When I am asked "Where did it go?," I take it out of my pocket and say "oops, it when back to where it belongs...
Mago Mai
Message: Posted by: WVMAGIC (May 27, 2003 06:31PM)
Mark Wilson uses a folded hankerchief to vanish a coin. This is a great trick with some cloth napkins. It is selfworking.
Message: Posted by: Keith Larocque (May 30, 2003 08:57PM)
I love using the strike vanish with a pen, with a lid, and a coin. I think the strike vanish looks like real magic and once you get it down good. It amazes lay people.
Message: Posted by: gordo (May 31, 2003 10:19AM)
In Gregory Wilson's On the Spot, he does
"Questionable Trick," the copper/silver transposition with the a penny and a dime.

Here in Canada we have the "Toonie" a two dollar coin and the "Loonie" a one dollar coin.

The Toonine and Loonie are similar in size and perfect for Wilson's "Questionable Trick." In which I've always loved but done with larger coins, It's much more effective.(IMHO)

Message: Posted by: markkwan (Jun 17, 2003 04:43PM)
I'm also a big fan of strike magic. Also a pen and the recap routine works wonders.
Message: Posted by: Magique Hands (Jun 18, 2003 12:37PM)
Maybe I'm of the 'Old School' here, but when asked to show a trick at a moments notice, I'm not so quick to just show them a 'trick'.

As Billy James stated above, you can develop impromptu routines. The more impromptu effects you know, the more you can routine them into 'mini showpieces', giving your spectator(s) more than what they expected, and truly entertaining them. Being an entertainer, no matter where you are performing, HOW you perform your effect can set you apart from just someone who knows 'quick tricks'.

- - Troy
Message: Posted by: SOHartist (Jul 18, 2003 03:05PM)
If you love cigarette tricks, but don't like working with them, I found that chalk works like a charm.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Jul 22, 2003 06:37AM)
I think Brad was referring to routines. Brad is a pro and one of the best guy's out there working. His advice and suggestions above are pure gold!

Thanks for sharing, Brad!
Message: Posted by: Lee Darrow (Jul 22, 2003 11:13AM)
Impromptu magic is one of my favorite things. And one item that no one has mentioned is the classic by Martin Gardner - The Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic.

Solid gold, cheap at twice the price (over 700 pages for $35?!) and chock full of material that WORKS - whether it's silly bits with a hat, stretching an arm or more serious things like (hidden under something else) the Jaspernese Thumb Tie (Jay Marshall's preferred and personal method).

I do a bunch of material from this magnificent tome when "caught short" on props and it's a life (and reputation!) saver!

Lee Darrow, C.Ht.
"The best stuff is often found in old books!"