My comments in Vol 7 No 8, regarding close-up at children's parties, brought a very interesting response. It would seem that quite a lot of readers are already doing this, on a regular basis.
Terry Machin from Southend-on-Sea was one of the first people to let me know his feelings and experiences, on the subject. Terry is a full time professional, who makes a fair living by doing Kid shows in the daytime and table hopping at night. He is one of the team of table hoppers at the Dickens wine bar, in Southend. Other regulars, at Jthis venue include Dick Turpin, Don Simpson, Brian Oakes and Alan Rentcombe.
(So if you find yourself at a loose end, any time that you are in the area, pop along there — there is nearly always some magic going on).
Anyway, to return to the subject of close-up for kids. Terry says that he usually finds this to be most successful with the older age groups (7 to 12). As this is an age range that most kids entertainers shy away from, being beyond the "Run Rabbit Run" level, he has been able to increase his workload, by catering for them. Obviously he avoids the more complex routines — mentalism and esoteric card work are out. The items used must be simple in effect yet thoroughly baffling. His most popular are the Sponge Balls, Haunted Handkerchief (George Blake version), Chop Cup and simple (in plot — Terry is very skillful) card effects.
The show is presented in the following manner. No tables are used. The children sit on the floor in a semi circle. If there are more than six or eight they are formed into two rows. The smaller ones sit in front, the bigger ones kneel behind them, or else sit on chairs. Terry works, sitting or kneeling on the floor. This obviously rules out any lapping or rear of table expedients. The show lasts for 30 to 40 minutes, during which time, every child has an opportunity to participate in something. Children are not called out to assist. They stay where they are and participate from their places. Terry reaches out to them, when he requires something to be held or a card to be taken.
Another reader, who has had some expeience in the field, is Ferry Gerats, from Groesbeek in Holland. He has promised some info on his approach, in the near future. Meanwhile he told me a story, which holds some food for thought.
One of the magic societies, to which he belongs, recently staged a competition for the best children's entertainer. Ferry entered and performed close-up magic. The judges awarded him first prize. This apparently unleashed a storm of controversey. Manv people said that children's magic must be stand up magic, done on the stage etc.. etc.
It was interesting to notice that in the January 1983 Magigram Smartie Artie outlined a close-up effect for children, which he use» to entertain the early arrivals at a party and keep them occupied, while the others get there. It was a paddle routine, marketed by Supreme.
Some years ago, before I really went into children's magic, I was called upon to entertain the kids at my nephew's party. There were not many there, so I got them to sit around the table, while I did the Chop Cup, Sponge Balls. Cannibal Cards etc. All of these went down well. Then came the Han Ping Chein Coins Through Table. I really hammed this up, putting my ear right against the table top, to listen for the "soft spot". When I looked up, all the children had disappeared. They had all ducked under the table, to watch the coins coming through!
By now, most readers will have heard, elsewhere (Pat Page mentioned it in the previous issue), of Bob Read's success, in coming second in the all-comers close-up competition, in Las Vegas. It was organised by Joe Stevens, for his Close-Up Seminar. There was some pretty substantial prize money involved, which attracted quite a few international "big names". A1 Goshman was one, John Cornelius another. In the event, the winner was Paul Gertner and third place went to Michael Webber. This is, of course, great news for British magic, in general and even greater news for Bob Read, in particular. We are especially pleased, at Pabular, to add our congratulations to the host of others, which he is no doubt receiving.
As I write this, I have just received details from Martin Breese, with regard to his close-up seminar. This takes place during the week commencing May 9th. Unfortunately, I doubt if the magazine will be published by then. When you read this, it will possibly (most likely) be too late. The accent will be on commercial close-up. There will be several lectures/ demonstrations by Carl Dreher, of Dallas Texas. Others taking part will be Billy McComb, Brian Sinclair, Rex Cooper, Eric Mason, Terry Machin and Barry Dekker. If I can manage to get along for one or two of the sessions, a report will appear in the next edition.
Whilst the idea of burning a book match then passing the burned match back to the book of matches is a very nice item for the layman . . the repeat of the effect is so much better and to the layman a real baffler.
The method is quite simple in operation . . . two books of matches are needed . . . they are identical. Prepare by opening the books then bend one match forward in book "A" somewhere near the middle of the book, this match is lit using a separate cigarette lighter and immediately blown out. . . thus we have a spent match inside the booklet stuck fast at a position about the middle of the match booklet, see Figs. 1 and 2.
Booklet "B" is treated in the same manner as booklet "A", Except that TWO MATCHES TOGETHER IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOKLET are lit and blown out. . . thus we have TWO spent matches in Book "B" at the same position as the one spent match in booklet "A".
Booklet "A" is placed into the MATCH POCKET of the performer's jacket on the right side, whilst booklet "B" goes into the pocket proper on the right side.
When performing the routine, the normal burned match effect is presented, as this is generally known to all magicians a brief explanation only will suffice
When ready to perform the magician removes booklet "A" from the match pocket on the right side and opening the book towards himself by using the right thumb . . the thumb touches the top of the spent match in the middle of the book and doubles this match downwards as in Fig. 2, the LEFT THUMB now takes over and covers the spent match from the eyes of the spectators . . . timing is such that the magician appears to merely remove a book of matches and to open the book for all to see. Now the magician quite openly PULLS OUT A MATCH FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE BOOKLET as near as possible to the spent match hidden under the left thumb, this is handed to the spectator and he is asked to strike the match on the striker pad at the rear of the packet, during this action the magician first thumbs the hidden match back inside the booklet before closing the booklet and offering the back to spectator 50 he may strike the removed match on the striker pad. Immediately the match lights it is blown out by the performer who then hands the booklet to the spectator to hold whilst he (the performer) takes the spent match from the spectator. The performer now draws attention to the spent match and the booklet held by the spectator . . he then executes a French Drop with the match and makes a throwing movement towards the booklet.. . the match disappears and spectator opens the booklet to find the spent match has arrived back inside the booklet in. it's original position. That is the original routine. I'm afraid I do not know the originator of this.
The above is performed as stated and to the spectators the effect is finished the performer now returns'the used booklet "A" to it's original position INSIDE THE MATCH POCKET of the jacket on the right side. After a moment the performer offers to repeat the effect and accordingly removes the booklet again from his pocket except that this time it is BOOKLET "B" that is removed unknown and unsuspected from the pocket proper. Now the same effect is repeated, the handling is exactly as before, one spend match being hidden from vic?w under the left thumb. Now when the spectator is shown the booklet he can see this already contains the spent match just used (or so it appears). Magician removes a new match as before from a central position next to the spent match, this is handed to spectator as before and magician allows him to strike the new match . . again during the closing of the booklet the hidden spent match is thumbed back inside the booklet. Booklet is handed to spectator whilst magician performs the French Drop with the spent match and throws the invisible match towards the booklet. Booklet is opened by the spectator and NOW THIS IS FOUND TO CONTAIN TWO SPENT
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Magick is the art and practice of moving natural energies to effect needed or wanted change. Magick is natural, there is absolutely nothing supernatural about it. What is taught here are various techniques of magick for beginners. Magick is natural and simple and the techniques to develop abilities should be simple and natural as well. What is taught on this site is not only the basics of magick, but the basics of many things.