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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Magic...at a moment's notice! » » Pulling off the thumb (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Tor Egil
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Elite user
Norway
495 Posts

Profile of Tor Egil
When ever someone asks me to do a trick and Im not prepeared, I do the ol' pulling off the thumb gag. I say Im going to do something amazing. Something I have practised for over 10 years, and this is the first time Im going to do it. If you are impressed by Copperfield, wait till you see this. By now they expect to see something ridiculesly amazing. Then I do the gag, but I do it a little diffrently. Insted of pulling off the thumb, I pull of the pinky using the same method. It amazes me that they cant tell that my pinky just got bigger in size. After Im done the spectator starts to laugh. Im just waiting for him to ask me to show him a real trick. Insted, he says wow that is amazing how did you do that.
I think Im more amazed then the spectator. I was just presenting it as a gag to be funny.
I have done this gag about 10 times. 3 out of were amazed.
I just cant come over the fact that they were amazed by a gag you learn when you were 8.
And here we are practising the most difficult sleights we can find.
Conclusions: Keep it stupid simple.....or was it the other way around.
wsduncan
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Inner circle
Seattle, WA
3618 Posts

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Tor,
I'll suggest that you substitute your second (aka "middle") finger for the pinky. There are two advantages:
1. The finger is much closer in size to the digit used in the effect than a pinky is...
AND
2. the presence of the first and third fingers on either side of the missing fingertip help to create a stronger illusion because the eye compares what it sees with what is missing and try to fill in the blank space.
Turk
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Inner circle
Portland, OR
3545 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-03-18 14:42, wsduncan wrote:
Tor,
I'll suggest that you substitute your second (aka "middle") finger for the pinky. There are two advantages:
1. The finger is much closer in size to the digit used in the effect than a pinky is...
AND
2. the presence of the first and third fingers on either side of the missing fingertip help to create a stronger illusion because the eye compares what it sees with what is missing and try to fill in the blank space.


And.....3. If they don't like the magic, no additional effort required if you want to flip them off!! (lol)

Mike
Magic is a vanishing Art.

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Eschew obfuscation.
Parson Smith
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Inner circle
1939 Posts

Profile of Parson Smith
Hey Tor,
Back when I had two hands, a quick throwaway that I did for kids was to wrap the right hand around the left thumb while pulling the thumb down. Then pull straight up.
Don't know if I explained this well enough or not. Seems really stupid, but kids loved it.
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alexoid
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25 Posts

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You may wish to add some of the disappearing finger stuff from Mier yedid'd finger fantasies- looks great when you get the angles right. Also, you can pretend to crack each finger by grabbing each finger with one hand and bending the finger down, as you bend each finger you click your finger with the grabbing hand- it makes a horrible sound! The movement of bending each finger covers the slight movement of snapping your finger.

Hope that makes sense!
BLSmagic
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Profile of BLSmagic
Hold your left hand up with your palm facing you. Bend half of your index finger back and use your right thumb, which is bent half way, as the substitute for it. Also use your right index finger to cover the part of your right thumb that should be covered. Hope that helps.
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dcobbs
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Portsmouth, England
33 Posts

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I use the pulling off the thumb gag all the time, but I don't consider it 'magic'. It's good for making little kids scream but if you perform it for adults they're going to look at you as if to say "ohhhhh grow up"
Magically yours,

Daniel Cobbs.
Dave Le Fevre
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Inner circle
UK
1648 Posts

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Quote:
On 2005-03-18 14:42, wsduncan wrote:
Tor,
I'll suggest that you substitute your second (aka "middle") finger for the pinky. There are two advantages:
1. The finger is much closer in size to the digit used in the effect than a pinky is...
AND
2. the presence of the first and third fingers on either side of the missing fingertip help to create a stronger illusion because the eye compares what it sees with what is missing and try to fill in the blank space.


I've been using that for a while. For a young audience, I do the Jumping Elastic Band, and then I explain that "the band jumps across through the gap in my fingers", and pull my finger off.

Dave
The Ozzy Osbourne of the 34x27
Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

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One of my tricks that was published in Linking Ring magazine a few years ago is exactly what you are talking about. It's called "Thumb Off" and it gets a better reaction then you might think. I get more screams from this trick then the marketed trick "The Web."

I lectured at Michigan State University last week and during the lecture they didn't think much of it. But after the lecture a couple of guys from the MSU foot ball team showed up and when I did Thumb off they screams..Smile

Anyway. You can click here to see a very small and very bad quality video of how I do it. I made the video a long time ago so it's not much but you can see it in action.

Click here or right click and select "Save target as..." to see or download the PDF file of this trick. It's not much but it tells how to do it. I should mention that this is from an old site that no longer exists so the Email form in it will no longer work.

Have fun with it.

Ron Jaxon
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After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Magicmaven
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I think they were just being polite.
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Jaxon
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Kalamazoo, Mi.
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Being polite to me about reacting to this trick? HAHA..The screams it gets is far from being polite. If only I had a video of the reactions it gets. Maybe I should put one together.

Ron Jaxon
Image


After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
Dave Le Fevre
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Inner circle
UK
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I rather like Thumb Off. Thanks Ron.

And it's prompted me to use something that I bought many many years ago. I saw a rather realistic rubber "Cut-off Bloody Finger" in a joke shop, so I bought it on the grounds that it might come in useful some day. And I think that "some day" has arrived, thanks to Thumb Off.

It is in fact perfect for that other handling, where one removes one's middle finger. So with the fake finger concealed in my left hand, I shall do that effect, get a small laugh, do it again but using the fake finger instead of the thumb, et voila.

A thumb tip is obviously more convenient to handle. Perhaps the ideal thing is a Finger Tip - <pauses to dig out a Finger Tip and try it> - yep, that's good, but the rubber fake finger has a weight to it and looks realistic.

And I suppose it also depends on the balance you're aiming to achieve between magic, humour, surprise, and sheer shock value.

Dave
The Ozzy Osbourne of the 34x27
John Sturk
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Regular user
Chicago, IL
120 Posts

Profile of John Sturk
I was the one that invited Ron to come to MSU, and like he said, most of us thought that Thumb Off would be kinda lame. How wrong we were.

Those football players were definitely NOT just being polite. They literally jumped and screamed when that thing fell on the floor! If I hadn't seen firsthand how strong the reaction gets, I wouldn't have believed it!

Sure, for those of you who do a lot of TT work, you might not want to do this one if you're afraid of "exposure," but in a street situation, and for folks like me who don't normally use a TT, this trick is the reason to carry one!
wsduncan
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Inner circle
Seattle, WA
3618 Posts

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Dave,
I used to do something similar to the rubber band gag in my cord and finger ring routine. At after the ring and string I'd return the finger ring and do the old cord thru finger with my middle finger. Then as an explaination I'd pull off the finger.

I published the routine in my first booklet "The Edge Of The Stage" many many years ago.
poesjenel
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Antwerp, Belgium
122 Posts

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Hi Ron,

I think the thumb-off with the TT after the initial "known by everybody thumb-off" is great! I don't think you give away the TT as a prop for other tricks if you don't do any regular TT in the same session.
Thanks for the movie and pdf.

Jacques
Stevethomas
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Inner circle
Southern U.S.A.
3723 Posts

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I think in a David Harkey book, there's a version of this "pulling the finger" gag where you actually remove the CHILD'S finger instead of your own.

Steve Thomas
djc89
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Regular user
118 Posts

Profile of djc89
Well, I tried doing the pull the thumb gag, and I worked surprisingly well! Note that I wasn't performing for little kids, these were teenagers, almost going on to college. They were somewhat freaked out. They said they hadn't even seen it before =P.
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
3717 Posts

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Thanks for the effect Jaxon. I like it. I also like Dave's idea of using the rubber "bloody" finger. I think I'll be giving this a try! Sounds like it will be a lot of fun and will catch people totally off guard...Mark.
Bill Ligon
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A sure sign of a misspent youth:
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Profile of Bill Ligon
I do a pull-off of my middle finger. To set up I grasp my left ring finger with my right hand and force it over between my thumb and forefinger. My left thumb falls naturally on the joint where the finger is bent. I bend my right middle finger and place the two bent joints together, using my left ring finger to look like my right middle finger. It is then easy to "pull off" my finger. As I get older it becomes more and more difficult to put my ring finger in the proper position and I have found that just bending the finger into my palm and putting my thumb on the joint works almost as well.
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MagicJared
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Profile of MagicJared
I like to do the thumb gag and when people are unimpressed, then pull off my pinky ala finger fantasies.
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