By Mark Strivings

Effect - Five little wind up toys are introduced. These the type that in the shapes of animals, cars, people, etc. They walk, flip, roll over and other repetitive things. The five toys are laid out in a row and one is selected. Each of the toys are wound up and held in place (so they don't take off!) by a coupie of spectators. The final, selected toy is wound up and held in place by the performer. On the count of three, everyone lifts their hands. Only one toy takes off, the very one selected!

Method - Obviously this is not brain busting mentalism, but it is very entertaining for the right audience. I've used this with daycare audiences as well as adults (with different presentations) and it plays great

The source of inspiration for this is a terrific piece that my buddy Earl Keyser published in Magick magazine several years ago using balloons. What 1 liked most about Earl's presentation was the fact that there was movement involved. Here we had a mentalism presentation that was uisually interesting. I wanted to carry the concept into the close up arena and this is the result

You will need to locate several of the little wind up toys that your kids play with (just don't tell them what you're going to do with them). You will need to be able to get inside the toy without damaging it. The most obvious and easy to doctor toys are the ones that have screws holding them together. I have successfully opened the type that are glued shut and then reglued them with a superglue. Whatever works for you.

Once inside you will need to cut the spring that runs the mechanism. On most of these little toys, you will notice a small 'nub' of the spring on the outside of the housing that contains it. if you pull this nub all the way out with a pair of needlenose pliers you can then cut the spring at that point. Once this is done, you have effectively rendered the toy worthless (at least for most children). You can now reassemble the toy. It physically appears the same, but no matter how much you wind it, it won't run.

Do the same with four toys total and leave one in perfect working order. Obviously all you need to do is force the working toy and you're in business. Personally I use the PATEO force (description follows), although any force you're comfortable with will do just fine. Once the toy has been chosen, I ask my assistant and one other spectator to assist me. Some acting will be required here. You're going to 'wind up' each of the toys. It must appear that they all are capable of working. I simply wind up until I would normally start to feel it overwind. Slow down at this point as if being very careful. Finally have the spectator pin down the little critter. Do the same with the other toys, each spectator holding down two toys with their hands. You wind up the working toy and pin it in place.

Count to three and have everyone let go. Only the chosen toy will walk away (or whatever it does)! A very nice piece of light and breezy mentalism.

The PATEO {Point At Two Eliminate One) force is a very easy force to do and will work with any number of objects (although five is the lowest recommended number). The concept is easy and you need only know two pieces of information. 1 - what object you are forcing (duh!) and 2 - whether there are an even or odd number of objects. If there are an odd number, you, the performer, must start. If there are an even number of objects, then the spectator starts.

Since there are an odd number of objects (five), you start. Point at any two objects except the force object and have the spectator decide which one to take away. Then have them point at any two of the remaining objects and simply take away one that is not the force object. Obviously if they point at two that are not the force object you can take either one away. Now it's your turn again. Point at the two objects left that are not your force object, they remove one. This will only leave two objects left. Take away the non-force object, leaving the 'chosen' one behind.

The procedure is simple. Don't ever point at the force object yourself, and never take it away if they point at it. Follow this and you'll hit every time.

The effect is very simple, always ready to go and has lot's of room for presentational fun in it. I hope you enjoy it.


Continue reading here: By Mark Strivings

Was this article helpful?

0 0


  • sebastian bosch
    What is PATEO in Mentalism?
    5 years ago