Billy The Hypnotized Balloon
COMMENTS: I believe that the Super Needled Balloon is intrinsically a great trick. The clear balloons look extremely thin and vulnerable when inflated, and the huge needle and thread certainly looks intimidating. Despite the fact that onlookers generally have enough faith and confidence in a magician to loan him twenty-dollar bills and place their heads into six-foot guillotines at his request, they can't help flinching and covering their ears when the needle touches the balloon.
However, deep down, they still have faith the needle will pass through successfully, just as the guillotine blade does. If they somehow foresee this outcome; I believe the effect itself is weakened.
The following is an attempt to strengthen the effect, "beef it up," and add a surprise comedy ending to make this a complete routine in itself. This needled balloon effect is not presented in a "lookwhat I can do" fashion. Watchers are all the more compelled to flinch and cover their ears, so consequently the penetration is set up for a stronger impact
There are two endings to this routine; I use both at various times, depending on the situation. I will detail both methods, and you can decide which will be the most convenient addition to your show. First of all, this is an entire routine, and not just a demonstration with a balloon. It has a definite beginning, surprises in the body section, and a surprising, unsuspected ending. It follows a pleasing pattern to perform, and I'll give an ending which eliminates the need for the dove.
PROPS/SET-UP: You need two balloons and the needle from the "needled balloon" set with a six foot string; a pill bottle of vaseline; a live dove, a "Balloon to Dove" tray; an extra ring; and finally, a black permanent ink magic marker. The best thing about these props (except for the dove tray and the dove) is that they can all be easily packed in the "super needled" box.
To set up, draw a face with open eyes on one balloon, and a face with dosed eyes on the second. I use a Dri-Mark 699 permanent marker, which dries quickly and doesn't smear. Place the extra ring into the neck of the closed-eyed balloon, about an inch down from the opening (FIG. 1). The extra ring should have no sharp points or settings. Place these into your coat pocket, or out of sight on your table. The needle is coated with vaseline to insure a smooth penetration, and is placed out of sight. Load the dove into the Balloon to Dove. You are ready to begin.
EFFECT/PRESENTATIONIT'ROCEDURES: Begin by saying, "I'd like to move right into one of the most fascinating aspects 0; mind control: Hypnosis. Hypnosis is a uiPiiK?, \ -Oi-hX'v state. Since there is always the dwnCTthut some of you in the audience might already be semi-awake, or semi-asleep, it wouldn't be fair to hypnotize any of you. Remove the open-eyed balloon from your pocket and display it Continue, "Instead, I'll hypnotize an inanimate object. I'm going to hypnotize this balloon." This always causes laughter from the audience.
"Now this isn't just any balloon, this balloon has a personality." Blow up the balloon about three-quarters full, which shows the simple face drawn on it
'This is Billy Balloon. Not only is Billy an excellent hypnotic subject, but he does impersonations too! Here's Billy's impersonation of a Chinese balloon. " Put the end of the untied, partially-filled balloon into your mouth. This frees both hands to reach up and pull back on the corners of the drawn-on eyes, Chinese style (FIG. 2). (I did this once as a spontaneous gag and was
surprised at the laughter. It always gets a reaction.) The balloon is filled between patter lines, avoiding any wait as the balloon is blown up.
Continue, "Nowhere's Billy's pression of The Exorcist." Once again the end is placed into the mouth, as the hands twist Billy's head around clockwise in a 360 degree circle (FIG. 3). Make a noise like a rusty door as you do this. This plays on the famous scene in the movie where Regan's head turns in a complete circle. The balloon is now completely blown up.
"Okay, that's enough air. We wouldn 't want Billy to get a swelled head!" Hold the balloon with the neck pinched between your right fingers and thumb.
At this point you merely act as if you tie a knot in the balloon. Actu-
ally, just pinch the end closed with the fingers and thumb. Say to Billy, "At the count of three I want you to completely relax. One, two,
THREE!" The right hand makes "hypnotic" gestures in front of Billy's face. As you snap your fingers, release the balloon. The Balloon takes off, propelled by the escaping air (FIG. 4).
"Oops! I guess we regressed him too quickly! That's okay, Billy's cousin is here tonight... BOBBYBal-loon. 'r('!-v.r.iyit:h.j. Bobby is in a per-TftQH<t state of hypnosis." Saying this, remove the closed-eyed balloon, and blow it up. The face on Bobby has dosed eyes. Conceal the extra ring in the neck with your hand.
Hold on to the ring so as keep it from falling into the balloon. FIG. 5 shows how to hold the neck of the balloon when you blow it up. Now tie off the balloon. FIG. 6
shows the right second and third fingers pinching the neck of the balloon below the ring, insuring the ring does not prematurely pop into the balloon as you start to tie off the end.
Once the balloon is tied off, the left second and third fingers continue to keep the ring in the neck of the balloon (FIG. 7).
Now transfer your right hand grip on the neck of the balloon so the ring is pinched between the forefinger and thumb (FIG. 8).
Say, "Under the influence of hypnosis Bobby can now accomplish things ordinarily impossible. For example, can / borrow a gentleman's finger 'i^.yv'' Bor-
the balloon (FIG. 9). The right hand then thumbpalms the ring as you slap Bobby in the mouth, at the same time releasing the ring with your left hand (FIG. 10). The illusion that you pushed the borrowed ring into the balloon is perfect, and if the ring is kept in motion a switch will never be suspected. This is a strong point of the trick and sets up the penetration to come.
Take Bobby's face into your right hand and the tied end into your left hand and shake the ring around inside the balloon. Twirl the balloon in a circle so the audience can clearly see that the ring is inside (FIG. 11). When Paul Daniels featured this effect on one of his British television specials, this particular moment in the routine got a tremendous round of applause.
row a ring from someone in the audience. Do not have the spectator come on stage with you. I do this effect in nightclubs where the audience is very close, and the ring is always obtained as quickly as possible. If you are performing on a large stage, you may want to borrow the ring at the beginning of the effect in order to prevent any delays in the body of the routine.
Address the owner of the ring. "Bobby shall now EAT your ring. Open up Bobby. Not talking, huh? We'll have to use force. Open up! There..."
The left hand now pinches the ring through the neck of the balloon as the right hand winds up to smack the face of
"Now Bobby will blow your ring out his nose!" Hold the balloon with the tied end pointing up and Bobby's face pointing down. The ring comes to rest where Bobby's nose has been drawn. Place your hands where his ears would be, and squeeze together (FIG. 12). Be careful not to burst the balloon, but squeeze enough to make it appear as if you are trying to force the ring out. Give up after a couple of tries and say, "Not going to give, huh? Well, Ave got a persuader."
Go over to the table to get the needle. As you do this, leave the ring behind on the table. Display the needle with its six-foot string. Wave it in front of Bobby's face menacingly. The needle gets a big laugh and the audience is not expecting it to penetrate the balloon. The lead-in doesn't give away the effect, and they believe this exaggerated prop is just a gag.
"Still not convinced? Well, you're going to get a BANG out of this!" This may seem like an overly obvious line, but under these conditions, it gets a laugh. Only now do they suspect what you are going to do next.
"I'm going to go straight through his this razor sharp needle. ¡} you don't believe this is a very sharp needle, you may actually come up and take the place of this balloon. No takers?
Here we go, right through the nose, down to the bottom, pick up the ring and out the back. Of course, this would be impossible were it not for hypnosis!"
Push the needle through the nose in the standard "needled balloon" manner, pick up the ring with the end of the needle, and then push the needle out the opposite side. Leave the needle stick-
Address the balloon, "Stillkoidtng
Well that's okay, because it's not you that's been hypnotized. It's the entire audience. Thisisn'tBobbyBalloon,it's Bobby the Bird..."
Release the dove tray and allow the dove to appear. Immediately continue, "... and there aroundhislegis YOUR RING! A real tribute to hypnosis!" Reach up and pretend to removed the borrowed (palmed) ring from the leg of the dove. Then give the ring back to its owner.
ALTERNATE ENDING: The above method combined two beautiful, commercial effects. For those people who may prefer to perform this without depending on the Balloon to Dove, the alternative is simple.
PROCEDURES; The presentation and set-up is the same as described, except that you do not ditch the borrowed ring while getting the needle ing out both ends, the ring sliding back and forth on the inside (FIG. 13).
Pause for the effect to sink in, then draw the needle all of the way through, leaving the balloon on the string (FIG. 14). Swing the balloon on the string with your left hand. As you do this, say, "Guess it's prettyobvious that Bobby is a swinger, but that is no reason tolethimkeepyourring ''Draw the string out Then go back to your table and set down the needle. As you do this, palm the borrowed ring that you earlier ditched on the table.
Attach Bobby by his tied end to your dove tray. It is very important that the ring inside the balloon is not sitting on the flap which flies up. This will shoot the ring across the room like a catapult If you set the ring onto the stationary portion, the flap pops the balloon, gets rid of the extra ring by covering it, and produces the dove.
from your table. Instead, transfer the ring fom your right hand into your left, keeping it concealed until the balloon is dangling from the string.
Take the string in your left hand near the end, holding the needle in your right hand. The balloon swings on the string, between the hands, as the right hand pops the balloon (FIG. 15). This leaves the extra ring on the string between two pieces of the balloon (FIG. 16). The left hand apparently pulls the ring from the string, but actually leaves it behind, where it is concealed by the balloon fragments in your right hand (FIG. 17).
Show the borrowed ring in the left hand, as the right hand places the needle (and extra ring) aside!
ALTERNATE HANDLING: Those performers who might wish to perform Billy, the Hypnotized Balloon at children shows can easily do so. Just follow the presentation as described, and don't include the ring penetration. Thafs simple enough! The character and delivery is entertaining and the patter can easily be altered to follow the change in handling. Some stage performers may choose to follow this path to avoid the possibility of delay in borrowing a ring.
Continue reading here: The Two Card Trick
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