(Close Window)
Topic: From eye candy to Magic
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 17, 2019 06:39AM)
Hello everyone

So after reading Designing Miracles by Darwin Ortiz for the third time I thought about applying Darwins rules to stage magic specifically manipulation.

So my I am going to use the Multiplying balls as an example.

The magician enters the stage and from a hat standing on a table removes a ball of paper. He lights the ball of paper and throws it into the air. The burning paper explodes and transforms into a white ball. The magician takes this white ball and splits it into two white balls. The magician produces another white ball which he then vanishes and finds in his pocket. The magician now produces a fourth ball. He tosses 3 of the balls into his hat. He now juggles the last ball around before tossing it into the hat. The magician now smiles and the music stops.

So I believe that the audience watching the magician will be thinking that the magician is really skilled in manipulating those special trick balls that can split in half.

I believe that in some cases laymen can tell when a trick is accomplished with sleight of hand and when it is accomplished with special props. For example if I make a ring float the audience knows that there is some special props involved. But if I make a coin vanish they are more likely to suspect sleight of hand.

Now I believe that the multilying balls would be percieved as magic if the magician hands the white ball out for examination then splits the ball into two. Then he hands out the two balls for examination. Now the magician has killed the idea of using gimmicked balls. If the magician does this with rolled up sleeves I believe that the audience will be baffled since it leaves no logical explanation for the miracle that just took place provided the sleight of hand was performed perfectly.

This same scenario is relevant in the linking rings, most rope routines and many other effects.

I don’t think this is a case of running when not being chased I believe that it is natural for the audience to suspect the balls.

I have a hard time putting in what Darwin calls “Time Displacements” in manipulative magic because the interval between the normal condition and final condition is too short.

I feel like most manipulative magic is just Eye Candy.

Eye Candy (From Designing Miracles) = Visual magic that has no lasting element of mystery to support the visual moment. (The effect has shock value and may have aesthetic appeal, but evokes no lasting sense of wonder)

Now there is nothing wrong with eye candy but eye candy is not what I want to share with my audience I want to share magic.

So I hope to start a discussion about how to turn eye candy into magic. And does eye candy count as magic?

One last thing what do you guys think is stronger scenario 1 or 2.

1 Doing for example a professors nightmare routine and handing out the ropes at the beginning which gives the onlookers no logical solution to the effect the moment the magic happens and the whole routine will be perceived as magical.

2 Not handing them out at the beginning but only at the end which will lead the audience down rabbit hole of not only thinking but “Knowing” that the ropes are gimmicked. So when the ropes are handed out the audience is trapped and have no logical explanation to how the trick worked. The downside of this method is that the magical moments leading up to the end when the ropes are handed out might be weaker since the audience believe the ropes are gimmicked.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 17, 2019 06:11PM)
Your ball routine has already been used by several magicians over the years. It is identical for a non-gimmick approach.

You do assume your audience is smarter and more educated in magic then you are, why you would think that is surprising. Handing out props for inspection is a good way to kill a magic show, as you expect your audience to sit and wait, most will just get up and leave.

As a magician, it is your job to create an environment that you are taking your audience into a special place. They are not think, but to enjoy the experience and wonder you create.

If all you want to do is fool your audiences, and think everyone is smarter then you, and they read and bought ever "trick" you have, they read every book you did, then why bother, they all know exactly what you are doing.

This is very strange thinking and attitude, in my opinion. It is the magician's job to dis-spell the audiences thinking, not reinforce it.

So you never purchased a book or video on how to do any of the tricks you learned. You at once knew exactly how the trick was done, and went out and stated perform other peoples magic 'tricks".

You think magic is that weak?

You know, I know how a Guitar works, but I can't play it. So does that mean every Guitar player is wasting his time, as no one will feel the emotion or enjoy the finger picking. It is just his skill and dedication that he is using, that doesn't count because I know how he makes the sounds.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 18, 2019 02:42AM)
Hi Bill thank you for your reply.

No I do not assume that the audience knows more about magic then I do. I am simply saying that if two huge and odd metal rings are taken put of a bag and linked together the audience will assume that the rings are gimmicked and in this case they would be 100% right.

But if these rings are handed out for examination before and after I link them together now we have a unexplainable miracle.

So I am a magician and my job is to create a sense of wonder. And to create the sense of wonder I have to “Fool” the audience I have to show them something that should not be possible. Of course presentation and patter is important to have a good and entertaining show but to create wonder the audience needs to be fooled.

If the audience is not fooled then all I am doing is juggling very skillful and artistic juggling but still juggling.

I agree that in a magic show over proving and handing everything out for examination is a good way to kill a magic show. I am not saying that you should let the audience examine everything that would be boring. But there are ways to hand things out that does not kill or destroy the feeling/tempo of the routine.

Imagine when Cardini ended his ball routine instead of tossing the 4 balls to the side he tossed them out and into the crowd. This would kill any doubt that he was using trick balls.

Now if a magician produces a rubber ball holds it between his fingers his sleeves are rolled up. He niw splits the ball in two with the normal Sxxll method now the audience could se there was only one ball in the hand the sleeve was rolled up and yet the ball could split. Now the only thing the audience can cling onto is the non ordinary white ball. The audience will assume that the ball is tricked. But if that same ball has been held or touched by an audience member the audience will have no explanation as to how the trick was accomplished.

I know how a guitar works and yes I still appreciate the skill and dedication the player has to his craft even though I know how it works.

Would you like to watch a 45 minute juggling act?

I wouldnt becuse 45 minutes of juggling would be boring.

There probably is one juggler that can entertain a crowd with 45 minutes of juggling but most jugglers cant.

So if I have the mindset that my audience is going to watch me perform to only appreciate the skill I have when I manipulate cards and balls then I am basically doing a 45 minute juggling act and nobody wants to watch 45 minute juggling act.

Now in a long show I can see why a ball or card manipulation routine could be used as an opening or closing to show that the magician has skill. But why just show skill when you can show something impossible and amazing.

Now in a cups and balls routine the cups are usually examined in the beginning this does not kill the routine it strengthens it.
I understand if between every effect you stop and make a huge deal about your audience examining your props that this would kill your show. But there are ways to have props handed out without killing the flow of a routine.

For example you walk out onstage produce one ball then split that ball into two. you know hand these to balls out palming the [ of the ball. You take the balls back and hold them between your fingers, music now starts playing and you start your routine. I believe this approach would strengthen the magic without killing the show.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 18, 2019 06:34AM)
Qui nimis probat, nihil probat. (He who proves too much, proves nothing.

MAYBE, if you saw my dvd of my show, with my ring routine, and, my ball routine, you MIGHT learn something. (like how to ENTERTAIN.)

It's apparent that you don't realize that MAGIC IS NOT INHERENTLY ENTERTAINING!
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 18, 2019 09:02AM)
Dick Oslund I understand that PURE magic initself is not inherently entertaining. Magic should be mixed with showmanship,comedy and other things to make it entertaining. What this thread is about is going from doing eye candy to doing magic.

Going from “Huh its pretty cool how quick he is with his hands” or “Wow he hides those balls in his hands so well” to “No way that is impossible!”

“Its not what you do its how you do it” Well don’t ignore what you do and hide behind how you do it. Making jokes does not defeat the audiences theory that there is a slit in one of the rings or that there are magnets in the rope.

Performing eye candy and cracking jokes makes me a comedy juggler.

What I am trying to do is pointing out struktural flaws in magic effects so that we can fix them and perform stronger and more amazing magic.

Now I might be wrong there might not be a struktural flaw in the design of most multiplying ball routines but I belive there is. So what I am trying to do is to start a discussion about manipulative magic to see if there are any structural flaws in the effects.

What you seem to be saying is that I am running when not being chased snd trying to overprove stuff. You also seem to believe that I am focusing on the wrong thing and if I focus on the entertainment aspect and if I do the design flaws in the effect wont matter because the audience will focus on you and your showmanship instead of trying to work out how the effects are accomplished.

“If they like who you are they will like what you do” Sure I just don't want the design flaws in magic effects to be ignored. Yes you can and often will get away with a less then ideal design in magic effect ( Like the linking ring example I gave above) but why not try and make the design of a magic routine as foolproof as possible.

Bill you said that it is the magicians job to create the inviorment that I am taking them to a special place. And that its my responsibility to make the audience enjoy the experience I provide instead of questioning it.

Well to achieve I have to perform one effect that completely destroys their mind so that they hopefully later decide that they wont bother to try and work out how the magic is done. But to make the audience come to the conclusion that its pointless to try and workout how I do things then I have to first perform one or more solid effects that create the feeling of impossibility and wonder. I cannot perform something and leave the audience thinking they know how I did it and then expect them to give up.

I refuse to assume that the audience wont try to work out solutions to the magic that they are witnessing.

Yes showmanship and presentation can make the audience not think about methods. But it is human nature to try and find an explanation for something he sees that is impossible.

I do not assume that the audience knows more about magic then me or that the audience knows what a shell is on a ball.

What I am assuming is that the audience will use logic to try and solve the magic that I am presenting .

Let me give an example of how I believe laymen think.

My sleeves are rolled up, I remove a ball from my pocket I hold it in my hand. I cleanly show that my hand contains only one ball. I then split the ball into two solid balls.

Either the audience will perceive this as magic and be astonished or they will assume that the ball is tricked if I disprove that the ball is tricked they will have no choice but to perceive what I just did as magic.

If I remove a big ring and then another big ring. Then I move into a 2 ring linking rings routine when I am done I put the rings away.

Know the audience WILL assume that the rings are tricked which they are. The audience will know think wow that looked cool but there is something fishy about those rings.

What do you think is the most logical conclusion. That you just linked solid metal through solid metal. Or that there is a slit in one of the rings. Levent argues for the keyless opener somewhere else in another thread. But this is why a good linking rings routine contains a lot of subtle moved and keyless effects to convince the audience that the rings have no openings.

Now jokes and showmanship will NOT convince the audience that the rings are solid. Performing with a non challenging presentation and personality will not prove the rings are solid.

The only thing that will prove the rings are solid is to prove that the rings are solid.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 18, 2019 11:52AM)
The rings and 'xxxing' balls do not have 'design' flaws. They've been performed by SHOWMEN for eons. I made a living, most of my life with magic. I toured the USA, border to border, and, coast to coast. Managers called ME. I didn't need to call them for a tour. I was never at liberty. Managers don't book "magicians" who don't fool 'em, or ENTERTAIN 'EM.

I started with the balls in '47, when I was 16, trying to be swayve & deboner. I wasn't. I realized that skill demonstrations were not necessarily entertaining. I developed a comedy routine, that ENTERTAINS, AND FOOLS THE HELL OUT OF "THEM".

How many shows have you done? I estimate that I have presented about 20,000.

Oh, Karrell Fox gave me his 3 ring routine, about 45 years ago. It plays for ALL ages. It gets LAUGHS and APPLAUSE. (SHOWMANSHIP!!!)

I dare you to follow me on a bill!
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 18, 2019 04:01PM)
Dick Oslund I agree that a good linking ring routine does not have design flaws. As I said earlier I might be wrong about what conclusion the audience might come to when seeing me split a ball in half but why not be on the safe side?

I have done 5 shows.

But do you guys not see any value in thinking about the structural design of routines?

Dick have you read Darwins book? Its an amazing book in my opinion on the level of ken webers maximum entertainment
Message: Posted by: Kanawati (Apr 18, 2019 11:58PM)
This is a really interesting thread with great thoughts. You bring up something really important tecumilic. Full disclosure: Dick and Bill have both helped me in my magical journey so I have a soft spot for both of them and I think what they are saying is spot on. I'd put their advice front of mind when developing a routine. They haven't led me astray yet with their advice!

Firstly I think there are differences between close up magic and stage/platform magic in terms of how we connect with an audience. The intimacy of close up can allow you to get people to hold props for various reasons.

Personally I think every prop can potentially be handled differently. For example if someone in the audience suspects "trick" balls, handing them out won't necessarily change their view. I do a fiber optic routine that incorporates the prof. nightmare and I do start by handing out the ropes. But even before they've finished examining the ropes I've taken one rope back and done a funny bit of business with it. While they are laughing I collect the other two. So for that routine handing them out works for me (because its part of the entertainment as well as serving to prove the ropes are ordinary) and I'd go with your scenario 1! But for almost everything else I do I wouldn't hand out the props. I've found that the risk of handing out props in general can really slow the pace or rhythm of the performance and create a lack of engagement with my audience. From my own experience I've also found that handing out props sets my audience up for a "look I'm going to show you something" presentation and it becomes harder to get them to enjoy the magic and buy into the journey, story, etc. I'm not saying that's what you'd be doing but that's the struggle I've had. So my general statement is getting props examined has more negatives than positives and does not necessary create stronger magic. Can eye candy be magic? I think so. If the answer is no then I'm left with a question, "Does a performer need to have every prop examined before they do something 'visual'"? I wouldn't want to sit through that! Great issue/topic you raised:)
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 19, 2019 02:59AM)
Hello Kanawati

Ok this is very interesting.

I agree there is a difference between close up and stage. I believe that its easier to create the feeling of magic close up because the audience feel like “ Omg I was holding that”
And Darwins Laws seem easier to apply on close up material.

Yes I agree by letting an audience examine a ball. There is the risk that you plant the seed in the audiences minds that you are using trick props and they might start to suspect every prop you know use for the rest of the show.

And yes it would boring to see a magician let audiences examine every prop he uses during a 45 minute act.

Does the performer have to have everything examined before doing something visual?

I have thought about this and the answer would be no. Im am not sure about my answer though.

It depends on the effect and the object.

If I vanish a silk in a change bag I am performing bad magic. I bring out a weird looking bad put something in it and poof its gone. Well where could that silk be probably in a secret compartment in the bag.

The change bag is just bad magic and the audience knows exactly how its done. They know that bag is tricked.

If I do a coins across with 4 quarters the audience does not need to examine anything because they will assume the coins are regular.

Its all about the props. If a prop looks strange and magicy then yes it should probably be examined. But if a prop looks like a household item then you can probably get away with not having the item examined.

But effect is also important in this issue.

If I make a knots jump from three scarf to another three scarfs.

Then the audience will not suspect that you have a machine in the table secretly untying the knots.

Some effects are so impossible that the audience cant imagine a gimmick that could accomplish what they just saw. If I produce a bottle from a silk the audience wont suspect the silk because there is no gimmick that can materialize a bottle. Unless you have the worlds best 3d printer inside of that silk which you obviously don’t lol.

My point is there are some effects where no gimmick could ever accomplish what just happened.

Know there will always be that ONE guy in a crowd of a 100 people that has that big ego that wont let him be fooled so he comes up with the stupidest explanations ever but for most people a knot tying and untying machine seems unlikely.

So yes it depends on effect. Splitting a ball in half is something that I believe the audience mgt suspect as gimmicked. And yes it literally looks like the ball splits in half when you produce it from the [

The audience can probably imagine that a ball can split I half. But if you produce 3 or more balls the audience will have a harder time coming up with a gimmick that can do that.
And if you ad a few shellturns know the audience will hopefully have no explanation.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 19, 2019 03:09AM)
If I split a ball in half the audience can probably imagine a ball that can split into two halves. But if I produce 4 balls the audience probably cannot imagine a ball that splits into 3 halves. And when you do a shellturn know the audience needs to find an explanation for how a ball can hold matter 4 times it size inside of itself which is of course impossible.

How can a ball contain the volume of 3 balls inside of itself?

So the audience will think. He had one ball split into two. Then he produced a third and a fourth. If you perform this cleanly with shellturns and other subtleties then I think it can be perceived as magic.

I just wanted to give a better explanation.

I wish Pop Haydn was here he wrote the preface of the Darwin ortiz book and he could probably make things more clear.
Message: Posted by: Kanawati (Apr 19, 2019 04:59AM)
Hi tecumilic, I think as magicians we can lose sight of what can actually fool people. And that goes back to what Bill said. I'm not a big fan of the change bag myself or at least the old fashioned variety. I know Dick isn't either. But a ball is just a ball. It is recognizable. It doesn't need to be examined. You can present it in different ways rather than the 1-4 multiplication, that is something that Dick taught me. You really should see his ball routine! I posted this elsewhere as a possible way of addressing prop issues with the ball thru silk. It was a rough idea, not polished and I don't perform this! But it might give you an idea of where I'm coming from:

There is also this with coins that is based on a routine by Clayton Rawson that is supposed to use multiplying balls! Again, Dick put me onto the original routine. But I'm doing it with coins:
So think of it as a multiplying balls routine:)

Can I initially have the ball examined and then add what I need? Or hand out the coins and then switch them? I guess I possibly could but I don't think I'd make either trick any stronger, at least that's how I see it...I could be wrong. But based on what you've said about the multiplying balls, I think you might actually be agreeing with the sentiment that with the right presentation, script, handling and routine eye candy can be magic without the need for prop examination. And I do agree with you that there are some tricks that use props that the audience is convinced must be ordinary and yet it is very difficult to even guess at any possible method. After all these years, I'll still see something that totally floors me!
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 19, 2019 06:42AM)

Well i’m not sure about the multiplying balls.

It depends on what is logical to laymen.
Because laymen think of magic with common sense and logic.

If I make a coin vanish by method of retention vanish the most logical assumption as soon as I show my hand empty is that the coin is in the original hand.
If I make a card rise from the middle to the top the most logical explanation is that I have a move that moves the card from the middle to the top. So when I do a double lift and apparently place the card in the middle then I snap my fingers and the card is on top. This is magic because al I did was snap my fingers. The thinks I just put a card in the middle then all I did was snap my fingers and the card was on top.

In these to scenarios its easy to predict how a laymen will think. I am not at the level of darwin ortiz at this skill which is why I am not sure about the balls.

The question is what is the most logical assumption for a layperson to make.

I have my sleeves rolled up take a white ball from my pocket. I hold ball beetwen my index finger and thumb of my right hand palm toward the audience. The audience can CLEARLY se my hand contains nothing but a white ball. I now split the ball into two. now I grab the one of the balls so that I have one in each hand I show them on both sides. Agin they could se that my hands are CLEARLY empty except one ball in each hand. I know cleanly produce a third ball.

1 Does the audience assume that the balls can split in half and then get put back together?

2 Does the audience assume that the balls are truly solid and normal which makes them feel amazement?

What I am saying is that 1 might be true and presentation and showmanship can help reinforce 1 to the level that a feeling of magic is achieved for the audience.

Or 2 is true and the audience are amazed at the skill and they enjoy the aesthetic of the routine but in their heart they know those balls split. They appreciate it but until proven wrong they have an assumption as to how the magic is accomplished. Remember if the audience thinks they know how a trick is done in their mind their have the solution and there is no magic even if their theory is objectively wrong.

Why not be on the safe side and kill the number 2 at the start of the routine so that the audience can fully enjoy it.

My question to you is which one is the most logical which one does the audience do number 1 or number 2.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 19, 2019 04:26PM)
Where did you get the expression, "splitting the ball in two'?

In '47, I bought Laurie Ireland's golf balls. I learned John Booth's routine from his "Marvels of Mystery". The ball didn't "split in two", it just "appeared". It fooled 'em, but didn't really ENTERTAIN 'EM.

I realized after a few months, that, although I was trying to be "swayve & deboner", I wasn't. I was 16. I thought it over, and, rethought the PRESENTATION.
I did a "180". I developed a "perverse premise". I've used it for about 45 years. It plays for kids, teens, and, adults. I can do it almost surrounded. At no time do I stop performing to have a ball examined. It would ruin the TEMPO, TIMING AND TIME. (All are critical to the PRESENTATION, which is planned to ENTERTAIN 'EM, as well as FOOL 'EM.

I do pass out for examination the nightmare ropes, but, the show doesn't STOP, while the 3 spectators "examine". Unless the ropes are "examined", the audience won't "buy" the effect.

Passing props to be examined, "began" when magician/buskers washed their shirts, pressed their pants, and, moved into the parlors of rich folks. All manner of esoteric "scientific apparatus" was developed, with which to perform tricks. The term "apparatus" came into magicians' vocabularies, because it was the dawn of the age of science. Tricks were now called "experiments", and, performers assumed titles of "doctors" and/or "professors".

In those days, TV hadn't been invented. Life was lived much slower. It was the 17th century. People would sit for an evening to watch the show. The esoteric props ("apparatus") could be examined. It was "part of the show".
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Apr 22, 2019 03:51PM)
[quote]On Apr 19, 2019, tecumilic wrote:
If I split a ball in half the audience can probably imagine a ball that can split into two halves. But if I produce 4 balls the audience probably cannot imagine a ball that splits into 3 halves. And when you do a shellturn know the audience needs to find an explanation for how a ball can hold matter 4 times it size inside of itself which is of course impossible.

How can a ball contain the volume of 3 balls inside of itself?

So the audience will think. He had one ball split into two. Then he produced a third and a fourth. If you perform this cleanly with shellturns and other subtleties then I think it can be perceived as magic.

I just wanted to give a better explanation.

I wish Pop Haydn was here he wrote the preface of the Darwin ortiz book and he could probably make things more clear. [/quote]

This is my routine for the multiplying balls. I think it has some very magical moments, and is not just "eye candy" or show of skill:


Happy to discuss it if anyone has comments or questions.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 23, 2019 04:02AM)
Dick Oslund

The reason I use the expression split the ball in half is because that is what it looks like. When you go from 1 to 2 balls it looks like the ball splits into two in the blink of an eye.

I looked through Marvels of mystery and I did not find a routine for the multiplying balls. It might be because I purchased the book in ebook format from Lybrary. The routine maby only is written down in the physical book.

Now when you hand the ropes out for PN the show does not stop. If you hand out the balls the show doesn't have to stop either. Say something funny or interesting.

Now when I say hand out for examination I don’t mean. Take this ball and try to split it apart for a minute.

What I mean is to let them look at for about five seconds to give the impression on the. audience that the ball is not a gimmicked.

Pop the reason I was interested in your opinions on the matter is because I know that you have read the book and I suspect judging from your lecture notes that you think a lot about effect design.

So in most multiplying balls routine the shell acts as a time displacement device. You show to balls put one in the same hand as the other. You secretly steal one ball from the shell. So know you have done a very clean steal. Know the audience see two balls in the right hand and you produce a third with your left hand. So the hand they saw empty moments ago know contains a ball and nothing sneaky or suspicious happened in the critical interval so the audiences conclusion is hopefully that the only possible explanation is magic.

Know this is true if they don’t suspect the balls.

You have your sleeves rolled up display a white ball on both sides the audience can clearly see that nothing is in your hand other than than one ball. You know produce a second ball in that same hand.

Know in this scenario do you think that the audience is amazed and see no explanation or do you think they suspect the ball.

If you would hand the ball out before you split it it would for sure give the audience no explanation. Why leave that false explanation to the audience when you can kill it by simply handing the ball out? Sure it takes a couple of seconds but it ensures and strengthens the audiences feeling of magic for the rest of the routine.

In my my mind it all comes down to this question.

If I produce a ball in the above scenario what is the most logical common sense assumption the audience makes.

1 That ball was produced and it must be magic I see no other explanation.

2 That ball is tricked.

We have to know what our audience think in order to eliminate those solutions so that we can take our audience on a magical ride or the magic rainbow as Tamariz calls it.

So I assume that you don’t agree with me since you don’t hand the ball out. I would love to know the way you see the effect and why you disagree.
Message: Posted by: Pop Haydn (Apr 23, 2019 10:01AM)
I think that when I bounce the ball it is very convincingly solid. When using hard wooden balls, the knocking of two together proves solidity. With silicone balls, a bounce is enough to prove the ball is real.
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 24, 2019 03:10AM)
Pop Haydn
It might be as simple as that never thought about that lol
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Apr 24, 2019 06:19AM)
One of my best friends in magic pointed out to me that if someone _thinks_ they know how a trick is done--even if their theory is light-years from the truth--then as far as that person is concerned, the mystery element is destroyed. I did my card and ball manipulation routines at a high school once and a science teacher came up to me after the show and said, "Those cards and balls came out of your sleeve, right?" I neither confirmed nor denied his guess.

The first time I saw a Zombie routine done, I was sure that it was done with a thread. I was shocked when I found out the real method.

Some people will just refuse to admit when they have been fooled.

Bill Hegbli makes a great point with his analogy of playing a guitar. The "secret" at first glance seems simple: Your fingers just strum the strings.

Likewise, just because you know all the words and the tune to a great song doesn't mean that you can entertain people when you sing it.

Ultimately, as the saying goes: "You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all the time."

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 24, 2019 11:34AM)
I agree with Pop Haydn.

"MAGIC" is not inherently entertaining, despite what Dr. A.M. Wilson said in the "Sphinx".

I worked for Senior High School kids. I fooled 'em, and entertained "em. --I got standing ovations from those kids with the breakaway fan!
Message: Posted by: funsway (Apr 26, 2019 04:56PM)
[quote]On Apr 19, 2019, tecumilic wrote:

laymen think of magic with common sense and logic.


I have followed this thread with interest, not posting since others seemed to be doing just fine in balancing your ideas.
But this phrase got to me.

Where did you ever get such a notion? Even if true, why would you wish it to be?

Performers make assumptions about how a a spectator will react and respond to a demonstration of the impossible.
They make assumptions about what most in the audience considers to be impossible and even what they might expect of the performance.
Yet, we do not know what they are thinking or even how they process uncertainty, astonishment or surprise.

Yes, we do have some people have said they thought after the fact. Why would you believe that is true and not adaptive memory?

If by "logic" you mean some rational deliberative process, there is plenty of evidence that folks avoid this whenever possible,
especially when in "entertainment mode."

I feel that my task as a magician to insure that nothing "common " happens, my demonstrations defy 'sense," and that reasoning is short-circuited.
I have an advantage of having had people come up to me 20-30 years after I preformed and discuss the experience.
Common sense and reasoning do not apply to their memory of the event.

Now, if by "logic" you mean a series of subcortical processes that handles inexplicable phenomena in a predicable and non-threatening way,
then I agree that the performer can focus and enhance the desired processes though psychological ploys, captivation presentation and audience engagement.
The objective is to insure no reason is involved and that the awe&wonder evoked is filed away with other warm-fuzzy stuff for 30 years.


you offers this statement as a universal truth or even personal conviction.
I will await any evidence that it is even remotely accurate.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Apr 26, 2019 06:45PM)
The key to making any magic act or routine entertaining is dependent more on showmanship than skill and props. The late great Denny Haney started out doing a classic manipulation/dove act. But his act evolved from a standard manipulation act into a highly entertaining, funny act that got great reactions from lay audiences. If you ever get a chance to see the DVD that he used to sell at his shop of his performance at the Wells Theater in Norfolk, Virginia, it's a lesson in showmanship as he presents classics like the Egg Bag and card manipulation.

Another great act that lifts manipulation out of the world of eye candy into great entertainment is Charlie Frye's Card Manipulation act:

And one more great non-eye candy manipulationact is Levent's Multiplying Billiard Balls routine:

Cardini's act--perhaps the most perfect act in the history of magic--also lifted manipulation out of the "eye candy" category. The very premise of an inebriated magician was great theater!

Fred Kaps's magic, too, went beyond mere eye candy into great entertainment and mystery!

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: tecumilic (Apr 30, 2019 01:04PM)
Funsway I got the idea that laymen think of magic with common sense from darwins book.

When a non magician is trying to figure out how a magic trick was accomplished they use common sense and logic.

When you make a coin change color the audience will assume there is a second coin in play. It is your job to be a magician and prove them wrong to create the feeling of magic and wonder. I don't know how you believe spectators think when trying to figure methods but to me my assumption is perfectly logical.

Anatole I agree that the key to making any magic act entertaining is showmanship. But showmanship cant make a poorly designed piece of magic deciding.

You can have all the showmanship in the world but still fail to create the feeling of magic.

Some magicians say that there are no bad tricks only bad magicians. This thinking hurts magic as a performance art. We as a community need to neglect this madness.

If a piano player is given a broken piano he wouldn’t say “ There are no broken pianos only broken pianists”

We have to notice the psychological clockwork in magic in order to improve as magicians.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (May 1, 2019 05:02AM)
Linking rings:

Audience THINKS they know how it works.

Magician KNOWS how it works.

As an excersize I learned a 3 ring routine.
Never somebody suggested the real method. Why? Because during my routine I proved over and over it is not what an audience thinks.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 1, 2019 08:41AM)
Here is an example of Paul Danials Billiard Ball routine using solid wood balls. He does it with patter, and you should note how he disproves many of what the audience may be thinking at every phase of the routine. Enjoy!

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 3, 2019 06:44PM)
Karrell Fox gave me his three ring routine in the mid '70s, I've used it since. It's loaded with laughs. and applause at the finish! --and, it fools 'em!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (May 5, 2019 09:01PM)
There are people who absolutely frustrate me as an amateur performer. These are the people who would rather try to figure out the method than to just enjoy the illusion. They are out there. A heck of a lot of engineers are like this.

So, as I understand it, what you are looking to do is to create a greater impact with your magic. There are a couple of routes you can go. You can go the route you are looking at, which is all about proving that you are doing the impossible. This isn't a bad approach, but there is a very real risk of destroying the momentum of the performance. For the multiplying balls, you could, for example, have someone hold the ball until called upon to hand it to you. This person needs to be more than just a prop. You can say something like "people used to tell me all the time that if they could get a closer look at what I'm doing, they are sure they could figure out how I do it. So now I have a member of the audience come up here and get a really good look at what I'm doing. Would you please be the audience representative, sir?" And ask him to hand you the ball on the table. You never asked him to examine it, but he has handled it. Tommy Wonder did something sort of like this with his cups and balls routine. He'd have someone sitting right next to his table, which allowed for one of the moves later on, but also increased the apparent impossibility of what he did because of the assumption that any tricky stuff would be caught out by the eyes up close.

Another route is to essentially make the method less interesting than the presentation. Tell a story with magic. It doesn't have to be a fairy tale or anything like that, but it can be. Mike Finney's rendition of the Professor's Nightmare is just a fairly descriptive explanation of what you are seeing, framed as the time he put one over on his math teacher. Walt Anthony has a couple of presentations for the same trick that are pure story. The moment of magic really just works to illustrate a moment of magic in the story. When Bill Malone does the Rub A Dub cups and balls, the poem tells a story of 3 old men with 3 leaky boats. By giving the audience one more thing to process, there is less brain space to devote to trying to decipher the workings of the trick. And a fun or funny story is going to be entertaining enough (if told well) that the mechanics of a trick are less relevant.

Another way to approach it is with the "pure skill" approach. Jeff McBride's DVDs demonstrate this approach well. He's got the music going, he's doing stuff with ropes, rings, silks, flowers, whatever. No story, no patter, but he makes it beautiful. Juggling is fun to watch, up to a point, and the pure skill approach (like manipulation done to music) is akin to juggling.

On the subject of juggling, have you ever watched a full performance by the Flying Karamazov Brothers? They are jugglers. They can fill 90 minutes with juggling. And it is fun, memorable, exciting, and entertaining. Because they know how to frame it. When I saw their live act, one (Ivan) had a broken arm. And they used that to great comedic advantage. The lights came up, there were 3 guys juggling 3 clubs each. And one guy tossing a single club up in the air and catching it. There were repeated jokes about the arm, too. When there were two guys passing clubs and one guy doing 4, Ivan would be standing on the opposite side of the stage from the guy doing 4. That guy would drop a club. After looking at the audience and making a huge elaborate wink to let everyone know he was doing this on purpose. "Oh, Ivan! Could you pick that up for me?" And Ivan would walk right through where the other two were passing their clubs back and forth. Pick up the dropped club, toss it to the single juggler, who would get it right back into the mix of what he's doing. Ivan then walked back through the passing clubs, picked up his one sad little club and started tossing it, while the guy on the other side makes this huge wink at the audience and drops his club again. "Oh, Ivan..." I saw that performance live over 27 years ago. I still remember it as one of the best performances I've ever seen. An hour and a half just wasn't long enough to watch those guys juggle.

However, there's one more element here that hasn't really been discussed, though it has been alluded to. Audience connection.

How can you make the audience CARE about what they are watching?

If it is funny, they care. If they care about the story, the magic is there to illustrate it and they care. If you have stated an implied challenge (people used to say that if they could see closer...) and you address it by bringing up a member of the audience, they care. If you can take some unique element that you bring to the performance, one that no other performer could bring, and make it a focal point of the show, they care. A broken arm would sideline a lot of jugglers, but Ivan made it the central element of that performance I mentioned above.

One last bit. Don't take offense at Dick and Bill. They've been doing this and answering similar questions for so long that sometimes their answers come across in text as abrupt. It isn't meant that way. They answer because they love magic and want magicians to succeed. I suspect if you sat down in person with either of them, the tone of voice would make it totally clear that they are just trying to get to the important elements of what makes a good performance. In text alone, their answers sometimes irritate people because they are rather blunt and abrupt. Both of these men have experience and knowledge that is well worth paying attention to.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 5, 2019 10:11PM)
Thank you, Patrick! You have much more patience than I!

At 87, I just don't have the patience to spend an hour typing a response.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (May 23, 2019 08:15PM)
I bought a set of Laurie a set oef Laurie Ireland's GOLF balls back in '47. I didn't want to use droppers! I had John Booth's "Marvels Of Mystery". All of the balls were "reproduced" from pockets! It was PRACTICAL! However, it was too much a "display" of SKILL! At 16, I was trying to be "swayve & deboner". I wasn't!!! The audience applauded at the finish, BUT, the routine was not entertaining!

When I enlisted in the Navy, a "vest pocket" agent, said: "If you can make 'em laugh, I'll get you lots of work!" I had been doing Percy Abbott's "Perpetual Balls", and, Bill Williston's visible ball penetration of a silk, plus a bit of contact juggling, and much later, Karrell Fox's "Ball o Matic".

I started "working" for LAUGHS! I got 'em! The entire routine is on my dvd. The presentation gets 'em!

NO BALLS are produced from a sh*l. I get four balls, simultaneously at the finish. I've NEVER had ANYONE, yell, "I know how you do that!" It's "eye candy", but, it fools 'em while they are LAUGHING! --And, they APPLAUD at the finish. There is NO SET UP!
Message: Posted by: Mr. Woolery (May 24, 2019 06:09PM)
Perfect example of what I mean. If you are making folks laugh, they care.

Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Jun 4, 2019 04:25AM)
The elementary youngsters especially appreciate the PERPETUAL BALLS (Percy Abbott--1950) and, the high school teens, too. The routine really meets my criteria: KIS MIF!