Haleys Comet

COMMENTS: Here is a wonderful opening effect for either close-up or stand-up performance. Michaelhasusedittogreatsuccessonboth Johnny Carson's The Tonight Show, and TheMerv Griffin Show. The effect is flashy, quick, and visible, the perfect opener to establish you as a magician. Both Michael and John Carney collaborated on this effect, and the idea was to construct it to be effective on television. It is a variation of Bob Fitch's bouncing ball vanish (see THETOPIT BOOK. pp. 80-81).

EFFECT: The performer removes a cigarette lighter from his pocket and lights it. A large ball of fire appears in his hands and descends toward the floor. Upon hitting the ground, the ball of fire bounces back up, visibly changing into a solid rubber ball. The performer bounces the ball and catches it On the third bounce, the ball vanishes completely. The cigarette lighter then vanishes.

PROPS/SET-UP: To perform, you need a rubber ball, a cigarette lighter, a piece of flash paper, and some magician's wax. For the greatest impact, the ball should be as large as possible, but must be small enough to be concealed in your hand. Approximately two to two-and-a-half inches in diameter is about right The flash paper is cut to three inches by two-and-a-quarter inches, approximately cigarette paper size. A sheet from a standard flash pad works perfect.

Accordion pleat the piece of flash paper, giving you a long thin strip. Then accordion pleat it down its length to end up with a zig-zagging strip. Take a small ball of wax and attach both ends of the flash paper to the ball. You are now ready to begin.

PROCEDURES: When you are ready to perform, palm the ball in your right hand. The flash paper is on the side of the ball away from your fingers (FIG. 1).

Rest your right hand naturally at your side, or hold it slightly bent in front of your body at waist level. It is important that this hand appear relaxed and (unconsciously) empty. Hold the lighter in your right hand, or keep it in your left coat pocket until you need it. Your coat must have a Topit on your left side.

Make a few introductory remarks as you remove the lighter from your pocket with your left hand. Hold the lighter directly in front of you, at about waist level, and light it Your right hand holds a natural position in frontof your body also. The right hand simulates a grabbing movement as it appears to reach over to take the flame from the lighter (FIG. 2).

The moment the paper bursts into flame, two things happen at once: (1) Your right hand throws the flaming ball down toward the ground; and (2) Your left hand remains perfectly still and allows the lighter to go out.

To the audience, you have just made a ball of fire appear. It is very visual and startling, When the ball bounces back up, catch it with your right hand. By now, the fire has gone out and you can safely display the ball for a brief moment

Bounce the ball on the floor again. Catch it in your right hand. As this is done, lean forward slightly on your left foot and raise your left shoulder. This causes the left side of your coat to open, giving you access to the Topit.

You now vanish the ball into the Topit. This is done during the right hand's follow-through action of catching the bouncing ball, Catch the ball a little bit below viaist level. The ball is held in your loosely cupped, palm-up right hand (FIG. 3).

Without hesitating, your hand and arm sweep upwards to bounce the ball for a third time. During this upward action, the ball rolls off of your fingers (nearest the thumb side) and into the Topit. Centrifugal force makes the ball leave your hand; a throwing action is neither necessary or desired. The rolling/ tossing of the ball occurs just as your right forearm is parallel with the floor (FIG. 4).

The ball flies directly into the Topit on your upswing. Your left hand remains in a natural horizontal position in front of your body. This hides any flash of the ball from the leftside as it tossed into the Topit

Now act as though you are throwing the ball straight down, just as before. It is important that your eyes, as well as your body language, follows the real action of throwing a ball. Naturally, the ball does not make its journey to the floor. From an audience perspective, the ball seems to disappear in mid-bounce.

Pause for moment to allow the vanish to sink in. Then take the lighter withyour right hand and hold it by its ends between your thumb and second fingertip (FIG. 5).

Say,' l-VW;, 1 guess 1 don't need this anymore-: ¡A-ier A' Bring both hands together in front of you, ostensibly to take the lighter back into your left hand. However, the moment the back of your left hand affords you enough cover, it is Topited (FIG. 6).

This is done as follows: Turn your right hand palm-in at the wrist, moving the back of the hand toward the audience. Now sharply squeeze the lighter between your right thumb and second fingertip, allowing it to spring off of the second fingertip. This action is very similar to the Pinch or Pumpkin Seed Vanish. The lighter is thus propelled into the Topit.

Apparently close your left hand around the lighter. Crumple your hand and show it completely empty. Brush both hands back and forth together, showing them obviously empty, and signaling an end to the effect

From the left: Majestic, Michael Jackson, Bob Jardine, Dr. Steven Hoefflin, and myself at the far right Jackson has used magic during his live concerts with great effect, and the year before this photo was taken he attended one of my private workshops with his friend, Dr. Hoefflin. Magic, once again, becomes the common denominator between friends of widely different careers. This is one of the reasons I'm so quick to recommend magic as a hobby for people of all ages. If you treat it with respect, it will continually open the most fascinating doors for you-doors that might otherwise never have been an option.

Body Language Basics

Body Language Basics

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