When I was a kid my parents always took us to the Circus. Unlike today’s circus, it was full of lions and tigers and bears and horses and elephants and dogs. It was usually at the old Forum in Montreal, famous for its Hockey Games with the Montreal Canadians in their heday. I’m going back to the days of Rocket Richard, Guy Lafleur, Floyd Currie and Dickie Moore to name a few, but I digress. The thing about the circus was there were two things that made me nervous, the guy being shot out a cannon and the clowns.
Funny thing is, one of my favorite tricks in the magic shop is Card-toon, especially Card-toon 2, whereby the spectator names any card which is then located face up and removed from the deck and placed on the table so that we remember the chosen card. Then the magician shows his audience the back of the cards, which has a cartoon drawing of a little stick man with a deck of cards at the circus. The magician tells the audience that he didn’t mix the deck because each back has a slightly different picture and by his flipping the cards they will see an amination. As the magician flips though the deck the spectators see a little stick man climbing into a cannon, lighting the cannon, and then he goes flying into the air with his cards flying all over. He manages to grab one of them and turns it over and guess what! Its the same card as the one on the table that the spectator chose. I much prefer this delightful little effect than the terrifying one at the circus.
If I was nervous about the clowns, its because they weren’t like the two charming young ladies that were here today. I know I would not be afraid of them as they were so sweet and thoughtful. They bought a lot of magic stuff, but not before they figured exactly where it would fit into their shows. They were studying theatre arts. They are working clowns and do well, and I can see why. I guess clowns don’t have to be scary.
Many years ago Phil did a lecture for Clowns Canada in New Brunswick and it was a real hit. Many of the clowns had never thought of using magic in their act. He still has some lecture notes on the subject, Clowning Around With Magic . It is informative and deals with stage clowns, birthday party clowns and walk around clowns and how and what is suitable for each one. Check it out! By the way, Clowns Canada is having a Clowns Canada Carnavale 2013, September 27 and 28th in Mississauga, Ontario.
And then there are the magicians that do a lot of clowning, but that’s another story!
Last Friday was not our ordinary day at the magic shop. It’s spring break. We had a visitor for the day, my grandson, who is now seven years old and has been doing magic since he is two. The last time he was here was about a year ago and by chance David Acer came into the shop and 5 minutes later Richard Sanders came in. Not planned. It was a riot and my grandson was doubled over in laughter with their antics. This time he came to the shop well armed with his magic case, under lock and key. We picked him up at his house and when he got to the shop he read the sign outside the door. Open 10-3 on Fridays.
“What time is it?”
“Ten past ten.”
“It says you open at ten. Where are the magicians?’
We had a good laugh and told him with the internet, sometimes we don’t see a magician all day. So he got busy checking everything out hoping a magician would come in. Finally one did. Someone we know well. Jonathan Levey.
I thought he would be excited to see a magician so that he would see some tricks, but no, true to form, he wanted to do tricks for the magician. He actually did a coin trick with a penny (Miracle Coin Block) for Jonathan that fooled him and in the reciprocal manner of a magician, Jonathan took the penny to show him a vanish. He vanished the coin from one of his own hands and made it appear in the other. The most magical thing of all happened when Jonathan opened his hand, expecting to see the coin he had transfered there. Instead, there were two coins in his hand, a dime and a penny and his jaw was hanging open, as he had no idea how the dime got there. We all had a good laugh.
Last year, when my grandson was here, there happened to be a huge box in the shop, so I cut out a door and windows and he played happily in and out of it. When he left I got rid of the box, but another came in a few weeks ago, and I saved it for him. Being busy with other things, I left him to his own devices. Then he called me and told me to watch. At age 7 he devised a manner of visibly getting into the box, and invisibly escaping from it. I had watched Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde from Paris and, to my amazement, the escape the magician used on the show was very close to the one my grandson came up with.
My grandson had a treat spending the day in the shop. We had a treat, because he was there and Jonathan had a treat because he managed to fool himself.
Although I have been involved in the magic business for over 35 years I have never performed in front of a real audience, until last week. Last Friday happened to be grandparents’ day at my 4 year old grand daughter’s daycare and we were called to see if we could come and perhaps read a story. We said sure, and I said to Phil that I would bring a magic trick as well.
When we got there another grandfather was reading them nursery rhymes. My grand daughter ran straight to Phil. She always runs to him as she knows I have a bad back and won’t pick her up. When the grandfather finished his nursery rhymes we were introduced to the children and my grand daughter insisted on sitting on my lap as I read the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which she chose. After the story, I told her to sit on the mat with the other children as I had a surprise for the children.
This was my plan. I would do the Thumb Tip Blendo. If you are not familiar with it, it consists of four 2″ square silks, green, red, yellow and blue. I would have them call out the colour of each silk as I pushed it in my closed fist. They did this with much enthusiasm. Then I was going to tell them that believe it or not, there was only one silk in my hand and they should all call out what colour they thought it would be. I expected them all to shout out a different colour and then I would tell them that they were all right. But if you’ve ever done a magic show, I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that not everything always goes as planned. What could possible go wrong? It’s not as though I’m sawing someone in half.
So I ask my question waiting to hear them scream out the different colours. But at the top of their lungs they all shout “RED”! You can imagine my surprise. I said RED? You all think its red? And they all shouted YES. And I look at my hand and I see the tiniest bit of red sticking out at the top of my fist. And I had to laugh. I leaned over and had one of the children tug at the red piece sticking out. When she pulled it out all the little mouths dropped open when they saw one silk with the four colours on it.Their reaction had me thinking about a new career. Just kidding!
The moral of the story is that kids are great …and you always have to pay attention to every little detail…and there is a book on “OUTS” just in case!