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Profile of Jaxon
I'm just sharing my thoughts and experiences on this matter here.

So often I read things like, "Can it be handed out?" - "If it can't be handed out then I don't want it." - "You mean you have to switch that bill (Or what ever object) before you can hand it back to them?" - "That won't work in close up because it can't be handed out at the end." - "An effect like that the object has to be handed out."

For the most part I disagree with these comments. Don't get me wrong though. There are times when the ability to hand things out can add strength to an effect. But most often it isn't a factor that causes the trick to succeed or fail.

The only time feel it's really necessary to have an object examined is when the object isn't something the spectators are familiar with. A bill tube is a good example of this. Most people have never seen a brass tube with a pad lock on it. So it's a good idea to pull it out. Hand it to someone and explain that this is sort of mini safe to hold small valuables or something like that. Make the unfamiliar at least understandable.

On the other hand if you display (or borrow) a commonly known object such as a bill, card, ball, matches, string and so forth. They know what that is so there's no reason to ask them to examine it. In fact asking them to examine it is often a give away that it's even possible for it to be anything other then what they are seeing. Would the average person even think about a gimmicked coin, card or bill? Would they even be able to dream up a way to gimmick them? Having that object examined imprints the idea that it's possible in their minds.

If you borrowed an object then that object has already been examined. Just perform your trick and hand it back. It doesn't matter if you have to switch it or not. You're a magician and you use methods to achieve the end effect. IF your method relies on the fact that you have to switch the object for a gimmicked object then it's your job to accomplish that without them knowing you did it. To them only one effect has happened but you may be using a number of secrets to achieve that effect.

Let me share my thoughts on some effect that I've read people say those kinds of comments about but I won't name the actual marketed effects. Just principle of effects.

There are a lot of penetration type effects out there. For example the coin in bottle. When you put a coin in a bottle (or can) is it necessary to have that examined while the coins in there? I don't think it's a necessity. It's nice when you can but they'll still see the effect and experience the moment. You can remove the coin then just get rid of the object and move on with your show.

Display a dollar bill. Turn it into some other bill (or a mismade bill) then put the bill away in your pocket where you got it. If you present this right and don't give your spectators any reason to examine it. Then the effect is still strong. It all depends on your delivery. In my effect called "Change for a Dollar" I do this. I tell them about the time I needed change for a dollar and got tired of waiting for the waitress (my reason differs depending on the situation). So I made the dollar change to two half's then four quarters (See demo on my site). After I'm done I just put the bill back in my pocket. The trick is meant to feed them visuals and it does that. I feel no need to hand it out at the end and no one has ever asked to see it when I present it this way. On the other hand I've presented this effect differently and they always ask to see it.

So if there's a trick you're been thinking about picking up or that you already have but don't perform it because you can't hand it out at the end. You should put some serious thought into the fact that you might be able to perform it without handing it out. You just need to find the right presentation to eliminate that need. Or another route is to find a good way to make a switch so it can be handed out.

Here's a suggestion. If you run into an effect in which you'd need to switch the gimmicked object for a "normal" one. Use what's known as "Time misdirection". Let me give an example.

I'll make up an example. Let's say you did a trick with a bottle. The bottle is gimmicked so if you want to hand it out you'd have to be able to switch it for a normal bottle. If you can't find a sleight of hand or gimmick method to do this. One time misdirection method would be to put that bottle away after you perform with it. Maybe put it in your case or behind the table you are using. Go ahead with your show and perform another routine or two.

Now go back to your case to get something for another trick. Casually put the duplicate bottle (Non-gimmicked) out in the open as if just moving it out of your way as you look for what ever you're looking for.

Now a normal bottle is out in the open and if someone happens to examine it after the show they won't find anything.

So, the points I want to make are that having things examined is highly over rated in magic. It's usually magicians who even care about that. And on those items where an effect would be stronger when the object can be handed out. Then there's always a way to pull it off. You either have a to find the right method to switch or find a way to eliminate the need to have it examined.

Just some of my thoughts on this issue. I don't expect everyone to agree and there are exceptions. But I hope I got some of you thinking on this issue. When you are interested in an effect I think the questions should be, "Does it look good?" , "Does it get a good reaction?", "Is it entertaining", " Will it be entertaining in my hands?" I feel these things are much more important then the ability to be handed out.

Ron Jaxon

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.
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Profile of raywitko
I enjoy your reading your posts. One Question, where do you find the time to write all of them?
Sometimes it seems there are more than one of me.

Tabman USA
email me at [email][/email]
Josh the Superfluous
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I agree Ron. When an amateur shows me a card trick with a normal deck, they never even show me it's normal before or after the trick. Sometimes it's nice to show something is normal by a different action. I do a bill to sealed tube. Instead of showing a normal brass tube, I introduce a "teleportation device" that I keep inside a brass tube. When they look in the tube they see a rubber band. They think I'm just goofing around, showing them a rubber band. I am in fact showing them that the inside of the tube is ordinary.

Another point: If you do get into the habit of passing out inspectable gaffs, they might want to see the uninspectable ones (sometimes in the middle of a routine).

The only exception to all of the above, are items used in escapes and impossible penetrations.

When I show adults close-up magic, one of my first effects uses an un-gaffed deck of cards. In my patter I explain that it is the only trick in which I use a trick deck and that I usually use ordinary materials. I then go on to explain and demonstrate the incredible properties of the deck. The audience doesn't believe that a deck could mechanically do what I claim and realize that something else must be going on. Two things happen: They convince themselves that the deck is normal. And I plant the thought that I only work with ordinary objects.

One effect I do hand out is black and white surprise. Here is a story about it:
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"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
Andy the cardician
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a high quality post - as usual I have to add. So thanks for sharing this with us.

I just want to add a little bit to that excellent post.
The need for handing out something also depends on the set-up of the audience. If you perform for close friends, they often bluntly ask to have a look at the magically transformed object. Strangers are a little bit more hesitant to do so.

The distance between you and the audience is also important.

The nature of the trick itself also plays a role. The more astonishing it is, the bigger the urge of the spectator to "check out things" . . .

Cards never lie
Robert Apodaca
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I think handing things out are unnecessary if doing a formal show, but I think it's kind of hard to get away with it if your are doing it for friends and family.
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Profile of sjdavison
Another excellent post as always Ron.

However, I do not feel there are any hard and fast rules, I think it really does depend on the situation and how the performer feels at the time, to use their discretion as to whether to hand objects out. I certainly wouldn't build an object being examined into a routine.

Maybe I'm lucky in performing mentalism that I never use odd looking props, but I think to bring out an unfamiliar object in any magic will bring interest, curiosity and ultimately suspicion as to an object. This is the problem I have with a lot of magic. To perform miracles with a deck of cards, coins, and then to bring out a weird box, will demean the rest of the act in my opinion.

I like having objects examined by implication - i.e. with a deck of cards, handing them to be mixed will alay any suspicions of a gaffed deck, without ever openly saying so - saying 'inspect it' would be counter productive. This then means ringing in a gaffed deck later is no problem, as they have already 'examined' the deck.

I think it boils down to presentation. I can only really talk for mentalism here, but if they believe in what you are saying, then they have no reason to suspect the props that you are using. So, I would suggest reevaluating whether you need to bring out props that look like a trick, but if you decide you have to use it, work in a reasonable and believable reason for it.

Just my thoughts,

Simon, 32, UK
Josh the Superfluous
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I disagree with the previous 2 posts (drizz and andy). If you structure your effects with feints that show things are as they appear before doing the tricky bits, and allow indirect inspection that isn't labeled as such, along with performing a number of un-gaffed effects, people who know you won't want to inspect your props.

My experience is that people who know me wouldn't inspect a Svengali deck if I offered it to them. One of my coworkers once said about a prop "I don't even want to look at it. Josh's stuff is always straight". In performances, the only people whom I find ask to see things are the ones that have owned gaffed items.

It's all about mind set. If you could do magic, would you let people inspect things? or just do it?
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
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Profile of BrianMillerMagic
On 2006-12-06 12:06, Josh the Superfluous wrote:
It's all about mind set. If you could do magic, would you let people inspect things? or just do it?

Ah, that's a great point! It reminds me of...oh my goodness I am totally blanking on which famous magician used to do this...but he would do a simple bill switch routine, turning the spectator's one into a five, let's say. Then he would hand the spectator back the five. If you could turn one bill into a high demonination, you wouldn't change it back! I know this isn't exactly the same thing you are talking about, but it's the principle behind if you could do magic, what would it look like? Incidentally if anyone knows who used to do this, and I want to say Dai Vernon just because he's done nearly everything, but if anyone knows for sure please let me know because now it will bother me.
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Profile of mkiger
Very good point about the unfamiliar. Who outside of Las Vegas ever sees a half or silver dollar. Okito box, dude, you do not want to open with a Boston box. In a formal show you can isolate yourself, but most of us are doing things ad hoc.

They really, really want to check out the shiny things.

You have seen twenty or thirty cup and ball sets, most of them have never seen anything at all like them. Same with the foreign coins, lucite rods, and other neat stuff you are using.

Most of us get to a skill level that allow us to get rid of things that cannot be checked out, but I am never giving up my brass bearing housing that has room for five obsure coins. We live in a very different world than our spectators. I remember a book that called the Bill Tube a holder for radioactive needles used for treating cancer. That is why it was lockable. The radioactive bit kept most of them from geting too grabby.

I often tell the spectators, as if imparting a deep secret, that if a magician gives you something to look at, there is nothing to find. Once or twice I have been able to bluff by asking if they want to see something they absolutely should not look at. They start to reach, then see me grinning at them and loose interest.

At the other end of it, if you do something remarkable with something familiar, they are going to want to see it. sjdavison is dead on with the implied examination, 'Take a card from this ordinary pack of cards'. What other kind is there? Bad thoughts. Over proving is as bad as dragging that weird looking plastic thing out of your pocket and launching into the canned routine that came with it.

Ron has a very good post about not needing to let them examine everything, it might make a bad precedent later, but anything odd looking is going to draw attention.

As far as doing 'real' magic, unless you are a mentalist, and a very good one, not many people really believe you have mystical powers. They might not know how you did it, but they know you did it.
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