I made an apple cake last night. I didn’t need a magician to make it disappear but in my case a magician did make it vanish, ice cream and all! His name is Phil Matlin.
Seriously though, its a question I am often asked. How do you make stuff disappear? Anyone in magic for any length of time can make a silk or cigarette vanish. There are coin vanishes which one can learn, even a beginner, from books like Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic (which I personally think is a marvelous book for anyone interested in magic). There are books and DVD’s that will teach you this stuff. Michael Ammar’s “The Complete Introduction to Coin Magic” will surely teach you how. I remember when he was here in Montreal he vanished coins and a full deck of cards in a topit and I knew it, but still couldn’t catch him. He recently came out with a different kind of coin clip, The FISM Coin Clip, and you can vanish 2 to 6 coins at once, silently. David Roth’s Expert Coin Magic Made Easy also has astounding routines.
For bigger items there are boxes, small and large, that make things, even people, vanish, and Change Bags that not only vanish things but change them from one thing to another.
But earlier this year something new came out, The Hidden Hand by Sean Fields. We sold a lot of them and got good feedback. It’s supposed to be astounding, although when you open the package, you may think, “What the heck?” but miracles can be done with this gimmick. The DVD teaches you how. I don’t think it could vanish my apple cake like Phil does, but it is worth while checking out!
Do you have a favorite method that you care to share?
When I was 13, maybe 14 years old, my father rented a summer cottage in Woodlands, on Lake St. Louis. We rented from a lady, Mme. Mallet. She had a large lot with 8 cottages on it, 4 on one side of the driveway, and the same on the other side. This tract of land was between the highway and the country road along the lake. You got to our place along the country road. I stayed there all summer with my mother and one of my 3 brothers. My father came out every night after work.
We lived in the first cottage off the country road and someone from my aunt’s family lived in the last cottage, and across from us on the same lot. We became close. I learned a lot from her. At 14 one is impressionable and it’s good to have someone to talk to, other than your parents. She also spent the whole summer there with her 7 year old son and husband. This was in 1954.
We lost touch over the years. We spoke occasionally on the phone, and it was always good speaking to her. She died many years ago, a few years later her husband died and then her son died.
One day a young man came into the shop, a debonair type of fellow, full of personality, charming, good looking, etc. He said he loves magic and wants to get into it. A complete novice. We guided him along, suggested he take Guy Camirand’s course which he did. Guy said of all his students, he had the personality and the ability to make it in magic. Of course for him it was just a hobby.
One day Phil said to me, “I’m surprised you never asked him if he was related to you.” I didn’t even know his last name at the time, but Phil did and it was the same last name as the people I had become so close with that summer. The next time he came in I asked him if he knew the people that rented the cottage. It turned out they were his grandparents, who had died before he was born, and his father was the little 7 year old I knew so well from the country.
We were literally magically reunited.
There’s an old joke about a comedians’ convention where comedians in the audience were asked to tell one joke. Since everyone knew all the jokes, in order to save time, all the participant had to do was to call out the number of the joke. One guy got up and said 327. Everyone went hysterical laughing. The next comedian said 241. Again, they roared with laughter. The the third person got up and said 561 and nobody laughed. Later on that comedian said, “I don’t understand it. 561 is such a funny joke and nobody laughed.” His friend replied, “It’s how you said it!”
Which brings me to magic. People come into our shop and ask,”What is the best trick?” You know the answer. It’s not the magic, it’s the magician. We’ve been there before. There are a lot of magician’s doing kid shows now, and not only for birthday parties. There are school shows, Boy Scouts, Day Cares, country fairs, libraries, etc. I recently wrote a post on Performing Magic for Children and discussed the thought that has to go into it. I got a great comment to validate my claim by JodyM. By coincidence a book just came in and is listed as one of our new products called Beyond Look: Don’t See: Furthering the Art of Children’s Magic. If you are ever at a loss as to what to do at a children’s show and how to do it, this book will help you. All the tricks you are not using, you may start using again. His ideas are great and simple. There are other good books as well, and I confess I haven’t read them all, but I think this one goes a little further. If you get it you’ll be glad you did.