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Steve Brooks
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I once attended one of Docc Hilford's lectures at a convention. I found him knowledgeable, and his presentations very entertaining. His brand of magic tends to be a little on the bizarre side. After all, how many magicians do you know who produce flies from their nostrils one moment, then proceed to present an effect using Tarot cards the next? Smile

That said, I was very curious when I received several of Mr. Hilford's latest booklets in the mail. Here then, is a look at one of them. Smile

Docc Hilford's Ball & Tube


Description: Put your audience in a mild trance and they'll actually see what you describe! At last, a handling of the classic Ball & Tube trick that will leave spectators gasping. In this routine, you'll be able to: change a steel ball bearing into a crystal ball without any switches, make the ball shrink without falling through the tube (and without using the gimmick!) and the effect will even happen under close observation and in the spectator's own hands!
A truly magical effect, and that's not even the best part, after you have demonstrated the antics of the ball and tube, your audience will be in a mild form of trance, making them ready to accept such suggestions as: "You will be able to feel the coin leave your hand," "You will actually see the card change before your eyes," etc. and the amazing thing is that they will experience what you're simply suggesting! A hit of Docc's lectures for over 15 years!


Sounds pretty amazing, does it not? After all, most if not all of us have owned the now classic Ball & Tube trick, but I cannot recall the effect ever being even close to the description you just read above. Perhaps there is a version available that I was not aware of? Well apparently there is, and Docc claims to provide the real work on this oldie but goodie.

Now before some of you start laughing, consider that many of the great magicians of our art have made modern miracles out of such simple pocket effects as the Mental Photography Deck and the often ignored Ball and Vase, proving once again that presentation is everything! Smile

What you receive is a small booklet, containing 23 pages of information that is staple-bound. There are some illustrations, but they really serve more for decoration then anything else. It is assumed you have a Ball & Tube buried away in your discarded trick drawer. If so, dig it out. If not, spend a few bucks and buy one. Smile

After an introduction by Kenton Knepper, Docc proceeds to give us a little history about the orgins and various versions of the Ball & Tube that have appeared over the years. I found this to be very insightful, and helped establish the logic and thinking that Docc places into the effect later on. Besides Docc's initial presentation, there is also a bonus effect using Docc's method, and patter by Kenton Knepper.

I do have mixed feelings about this offering from Mr. Hilford. The basic routine that Docc provides is a good one, that's a fact. It takes the trick from a basic sinking and rising puzzle, and elevates it to a nice piece of magic. I also liked his handling idea for the prop itself. Smile

However, Docc's philosophy appears to imply that, if the spectator can be placed in a trance like state, truly believing that what you are presenting is really happening, as in real magic, that they will likely accept anything you say or do as fact from that point onward. This idea is explored in great detail, and may very well have merit.

As a magician, I entertain folks. I do not pretend to have any real powers, and in fact make it known that what I do is accomplished by way of illusion and/or sleight of hand. While I am not going to debate the vadility of ideas or claims that Docc Hilford makes, I do know that his ideas go beyond the scope of my own magical presentations. I am not saying that Docc's theories are not valid here, they just don't fit my own particular philosophy and style.

For those of you who dabble in the bizarre, or, are into a bit of mentalism, this booklet will prove invaluable. Docc really explains his ideas and thinking very well indeed.

If, on the other hand, your magic is presented as more of a demonstration of illusion, as opposed to being a product of real magic, then the basic routine that Docc provides is still a good one, and could well start you carrying the old Ball & Tube in your pockets once again. Worth your consideration. Smile

My rating:

Available from your favorite dealer. Dealers should contact Murphy's Magic Supplies, Inc., Click here to visit Murphy's website!
Dealers call toll free: 1-800-853-7403

Suggested retail: $20

For a full illustrated catalog of Docc's effects, send $2.00 to:
Docc Co. 10275 Collins Ave Suite 824 Bal Harbour, Fl. 33154

You can contact Docc Hilford directly at:
"Always be you because nobody else can" - Steve Brooks
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