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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Why wands are the way they are? (8 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

BlindWizard
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I use just a plain sanded and oiled wood stick for my C&B work but why do wands always have the different colored tips and similar look to them is there a reason the standard wand is the way it is?
ZachDavenport
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I don't know why it actually is, but one story I've heard is that many years ago, when two wizards would meet, they would duel, and the loser would be apprenticed to the other for seven years. At the end of the apprenticeship, the master would burn a line across the students want except for the two ends the student was holding. So if you came across a wizard with a wand with an entirely black middle and white tips, you knew he must be an experienced master of magic having been apprenticed so many times. Not true of course, but a cool story.
Reality is a real killjoy.
plink
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There is a section of Jeff McBride's Squeak Easy where he addresses this. The basic black wand with white tips almost forces the eye to follow the white tip. The wand 'middle' is often the color of the object/s to be concealed in the wand hand to help conceal any glimpses of the object. If doing a routine with red sponge balls a red bodied wand with white tips could be good to use.
Dick Oslund
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Alexander Herrmann, when he needed a wand, would rip one of the rungs off the wooden chairs in his dressing room. I seem to recall that he would "dunk" it in black paint.

There's a story about Al Flosso and Thurston's wand. When a young kid asked to buy a wand, Al would sell him "Thurston's wand". Any kid who bought a wand from Al was assured that it was THE wand that Thurston used.

I SUSPECT that the white tips (or nickel tips, if you were a rich kid!)came into use with the, now, classic, vanishing wand. (cf. Tarbell Vol. II p47.

Years ago, the Chicago magicians wanted to honor one of the local performers, at the annual dinner. Dorny, an old vaudeville performer, invited the honoree to the platform, and proceeded to describe in great detail the very special wand that was to be presented to the old magician. Dorny explained that the white tips were made of cocobolo wood from India, and the black section from birds eye maple from Winnipeg Manitoba, (etc.!) The wand had been hand made by a craftsman who had spent 30 hours, hand polishing the wood with a special oil.

At that point, one of the magicians would rise and ask Dorny how one would know that the wand was such an artistic masterpiece.

Dorny would hold the wand at both ends and break it in half over his knee, saying: "Just look at the grain in that wood!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
ROBERT BLAKE
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Black is evil - white is good. sort of ying yang. my feeling
Leo H
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Quote:
On Oct 29, 2016, ROBERT BLAKE wrote:
Black is evil - white is good. sort of ying yang. my feeling


That could a subtext for the reason the wand is black with white tips. The contrasting white tips are also eye catching and delineate between the ends of the wand and the black attire worn by many magicians.

On the other hand, zebras are striped to confuse predators. When they are huddled together, the predator cannot distinguish where they begin and end.
Dick Oslund
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Hmmmm...Does that mean that, if I had a herd of wands on my P&L 1930's table, which has a black velvet (with gold fringe) drape, I wouldn't be able to tell if they had any ends?

That sort of reminds me of a circus performer who presented a liberty zebra act, OR, a "Lone Ranger" white horse act. but, could not offer both acts when booked. The circus owner had to select either the horse act, OR the zebra act. (It was how the term: "one trick pony" began!)

I met the presenter, when I was with Franzen Bros., back in the '70s. I was producing clown that season.
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Dick Oslund
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Oh! The guy with the zebra--or white horse act was Bobby Gibbs.
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Leo H
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Yes Dick, if you place your wands in a row end to end, you might not be able to tell them apart at a glance. Your magic history anecdotes are always fascinating. Clayton Moore experienced legal trouble later in life when the courts told him he was not allowed to wear that classic Lone Ranger costume in public.
TheRaven
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Similar thread with some references.
http://themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic......orum=130
Dick Oslund
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Hello Leo!

I'm familiar with the Clayton Moore/Lone Ranger case. It was a sad ending for his career.

Bobby Gibbs was a colorful character, and well known among circus people. If the show wanted a zebra display, Bobby would spend a couple of days, painting black stripes on his white horses. Unless "touched up" the stripes would eventually "wear off".

So, the circus could "have" a zebra liberty act, OR a white horse liberty act, but not both.

I only mentioned this to inject a bit of humor in the thread.

The earlier thread, mentioned by Raven has several posts which may have some weight.

Young Zach's post sounds like an "urban legend", to this writer's ears.

I first heard the Alexander Hermann story from the late Earl Edwards in Norfolk,VA, in the fifties.

The Flosso story is reprinted in "The Coney Island Fakir - The Magical Life of AL FLOSSO". It may have been Thurston, or Kellar, or Hermann! It's the "story", and the character of FLOSSO, that makes it entertaining. (Ya had to know Flosso!!!)

The Dorny story of the Presentation Wand, is a classic among those of us who knew DORNY. Incidentally, I had the privilege of nominating Dorny for the office of DEAN of the SAM, before I was a member of the SAM! I think I wrote that up in my book.

The white or nickel tips on the "wand" to be vanished, are a factor in the trick. (Tarbell, Vol II, p 47) They are also a factor in the Penetrative Wand (p 67, op cit).

Incidentally, Tarbell describes rolling the (to be) vanished wand, starting at one corner of the paper, and twisting the paper at the ends. He doesn't say what keeps the paper from unrolling!
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ROBERT BLAKE
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plungerman
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One of the first magicians I saw on Chicago television, likely Don Alan, explained why the magic wand was black with white tips. He said that the black represented evil and the white tips represtend the good that was controling the flow of the evil. With this balance of forces the magician was able to manage all his amazing feats. I paraphrase. I was probably eight.

Since then I have heard, likely from David Roth, that in the Very old days the standard pass (vanish of object placed from one hand to the other) was terrible and was made tolerable by the use of a wand. This covered the palming of the nutmeg. Having the wand the same color as the vanished object is a tried and true method even as late as Roy Benson for the bowl routine. Red ball, red stick. Makes sense. Don't get hung up on looks.

The wand also defended the performer from snooping spectators, aka kids. Long sticks used to be feared by children who grew up with first hand experience to avoid such threats. In his impersonation of Max Malini's cups and balls, likely [a little help, please] using the wand to swat anything on the table was a clear signal for spectators to stay clear.

For now I will take anything as a wand so long as it is greater than 12 inches. Fourteen looks about right. The idea is to get the eye to really point to a different place (than the dirty hand) in order to see the moving tip. Directing, not mis-directing.

E
gallagher
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Twelve replyes,...!
I don't know why you guys didn't simply 'p.m. me'
,and ask me personally(!!).
I could have set you straight,
....right away!

The first Magic Wands were white!
Pure white.
Representing ''purity and power''.
,...and,
they were used to stir the white paint,
used on the pyramids.

Early Magicians,
similar, to those today;
could barely make a living,
with birthday partys, bar mitzvahs, crucifictions, or village-pillage-partys.
So, similar to Magicians today,
most earned their daily bread,
as auto-mechanics,...
,...CHARIOT(!) mechanics.

As we all know,
Ivory Soap wasn't invented until 1879,...
Combine that with chariot axel grease(!),...!
It doesn't take much imagination,
to realise the colour of a 'pure white wand',
after a couple of Circumcision and Witch burning fests!

A simple bow-of-the-head,
a moment of silence,...
will suffice.
Humbly,
gallagher

(after re-re-reading this:
I now KNOW why,
"...you guys didn't simply 'p.m. me'.")
Eric Evans
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A friend, who was German guildsman trained in woodworking, once told me that all the guildsmen were awarded a "rod" upon the completion of their training as an apprentice. No matter what their vocation, if they were a Guildsman, they received a rod.

This rod, predated measuring tapes and was used to determine where the lines (water, both the source and grey and black refuse) as well as studs, ran through the walls and floor.

Perhaps coincidentally, they were all made of ebony, with ivory tips.

A few years ago, while traveling though England I happened upon a second hand shop, upon investigation I found an ebony rod. Looking at the ends, there appeared to be some residue where maybe some caps had been glued. If there were indeed caps present in its past, I'd like to think they were made of ivory.
gallagher
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Hey Eric,
after my 'Auto Mechanic' story,
your's is definately in the top four!

One thing for sure,
however;
that 'rod' you found,
DEFINATELY belonged to a
Street Performing Magician!
....they ALWAYS keep the tipps.
: )

have a good day,
gallagher,...
cold hands, warm heart.
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