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Inner circle
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Profile of Jonathan
I wasn't sure which room to post this in, but since it has to do primarily with creativity and what I think matters most in magic I figured it'd best be here. For many years I've contended that a "real" magician could entertain with even the simplest trick. It seemed the perfect competition to separate the men from the boys! Take a beginners magic trick, and make an impressive/entertaining routine out of it. and have agreed to send special prizes to the winners, and both and said they are interested as well! More might be in the works as I'm waiting to hear back from a few other shops.

I actually had the idea to do this competition/challenge years ago and never got around to doing it. But I just saw Penn and Teller doing exactly the kind of thing I was thinking about, using the exact same vase/ball trick I used for my routine, and I took it as a sign!

[Here's the link to their AWESOME routine! Watch and be inspired!]

Challenge yourself, and put up or shut up! Smile


Goal is to turn a beginner's trick/method that other magicians would turn their nose up at, and make it into something that an average audience would love! Come up with and video tape your presentation and post the link in this thread. Anyone can do one, and anyone can judge and award prizes anyway they like (more on that in a sec)!


1. Centerpiece of routine must be a trick (or gimmick/sleight) out of either a beginner's magic set, or beginner's magic book. Either use the exact gimmick that came in the set (if from a magic set) or make your own version, provided it works the exact same way. You can also modify the trick to use different materials (like using cigarettes instead of matches) provided the method remains the same.

2. The heart of the trick must utilize the same concept as the original. But any number of extra methods and sleights can be added to either mask the method or add extra elements to the routine.

3. No camera tricks or Blaine/Angel style editing tricks. Has to be something you could actually do on stage or to a live volunteer/audience in a close up/parlour situation.

4. Can't be a routine currently in one of your shows (unless you are a beginner). However, if you want to post it anyway just for fun that'd be great (be honest and let us know, though).

5. Must be entertaining, but doesn't have to fool magicians. You can go for that if you want, but it's not necessary. Emphasis can be simply on the framing/presentation of the trick (like the story element P&T added), humor (like P&T added), the magic itself (like the various misdirection and sleights P&T added), or a combination of any/all of the above.


Anyone! It doesn't have to be as impressive as P&T's routine, this isn't for something as big as the tonight show, so no one is expected to spend as much time as they did.

- Professional and amateur magicians can really test themselves, show their stuff, and see how they stack up against others on a more level playing field in the abilities that really matter - without the crutch of a new fancy-schmancy method.

- If you are a beginner in magic, you can show what you can do with what you have, and maybe more experienced magicians on here will be impressed enough to reward you by mailing you (or emailing you) a newer, more advanced trick for you to add to your repertoire!

- Famous magicians can also join in the fun, strictly for the challenge and joy of the art!


Anyone on here can judge the entries based on any criteria they want, and with any kind of "prize" they want to give. And yes, you can enter and also judge! (you can also show the videos to some laypeople and have them judge a winner for you if you like)

I suggest deciding on your favorite(s) and contacting them for an address to send your award. Rummage through your magic drawer and find some commercial trick or old magic book you aren't using and mail it to them. Or, if you'd like, you can send them an original effect that you've come up with. The more valuable the prize, the more valuable your judgment will be.

If you think someone is deserving of some kind of booby prize, you can "reward" them with that as well! lol

And like I said, a few magic dealers will also choose their own winners and sending some pretty cool prizes!

Hopefully, word will get around to some popular/published magicians who'll want to come choose a winner or two (and maybe even send some kind of prize). I'm sure we can all help pass the word on to some of those guys! Smile

NO NEGATIVE COMMENTS PLEASE. Let's enjoy the craft, have fun, and be positive.


There's no time limit. Posters may rediscover this thread years from now and decide to post their video, bumping the thread to the top. Or they may decide to judge a winner themselves, giving a prize to someone who posted years before.

I'd wait for at least a few weeks before deciding on a winner, though, to give people time to enter.

Sound fun?? Help spread the word! If you have an idea to help promote it or make it more fun, go for it!
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Eternal Order
Devil’s Island
15762 Posts

Profile of tommy
If there is a single truth about Magic, it is that nothing on earth so efficiently evades it.

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Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8514 Posts

Profile of funsway
As another example of what can be done on this theme, consider the efforts of MagicIan (Ian Garrison) using the Ring & Spring.
He published a book on possible effects and included some effects in his Lectures for Magic Clubs
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

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Ray Pierce
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Inner circle
Los Angeles, CA
2258 Posts

Profile of Ray Pierce
This "Challange" was what J Neal and I did every day in Hollywood Magic years ago. We would select an effect that was a standard effect and spend every bit of our creativity to make it into a mind numbingly powerful effect. It was our ultimate challenge each day for many years to strengthen each effect "in the case" until it was a killer effect. I likewise had a "ring and spring" handling that literally had 6 - 10 people lined up at the counter in amazement. It was the single greatest factor in helping me learn how to be a strong magician.
Ray Pierce
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Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
8514 Posts

Profile of funsway
Many of the dozens (hundreds) of magic effects I have developed over 60 years are based in some way on a principle learned at an early age - or overcoming some limitation claimed by magicians as "impossible" to do.

I have many items I could offer for this enjoyable challenge, including one I dreamed up last night suffering from indigestion. Unfortunately, your "send in a video" requirement excludes me.

I have crippled hands and cannot perform much of what I ustacould. I can test moves and sleights, but never perform at a reasonable confidence level. My wife is blind and cannot help much.
Additionally, I feel the offering magic on video is like having sex by mail. Many of my best magic effects cannot ever be shot on video because the presence of the camera would destroy the setting and trust level required.

So, I am reduced to thinking of effects for the challenge that would look good on video - that often leaves magic out. Entertaining, perhaps - magic, no. What to do?

I have reread your opening, "I've contended that a "real" magician could entertain with even the simplest trick." I guess I feel that a "real" magician should be concerned with more than "entertain."

I love this challenge and hope many are inspired to participate. If some capable person wishes to collaborate with me, perform and shoot the required video I have an effect that will "leave them speechless."
I can provide all of the instructions, sleights, methods, story and psychological ploys that will make it work. They can have all of the credit. The thrill is the creativity.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

ShareBooks at * questions at
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