Billiard Ball Manipulation

For many years the billiard ball has been popular in Magic, but its use has been more for manipulative display than for natural Magic. Because of its shape, it offers many possibilities in sleight of hand and hundreds of different sleights have been devised by Magicians. These moves take a great deal of practice to perfect — hours and hours of practice. I could teach you these moves but prefer to give you MAGIC with Billiard Balls.

In this lesson I shall teach you principles for working with billiard balls. These are worked out with natural moves and require far less skill and practice than the complicated sleights. From the standpoint of the audience, they are just as effective and, in some cases, more so.

I want to emphasize the need for simplicity and NATURALNESS in your work. The more natural your moves, the better is the effect for it increases the element of surprise to the audience. Magicians waste too much time in studying out difficult methods of production, transformation, and vanishing. The effect to the audience is the same as if they had used simpler methods. Remember that the audience is interested only in the results — the effects you produce -- and it is up to you to produce them in an artistic, easy manner.

If you vanish a billiard ball, do it in the easiest, most natural manner possible. The same holds true in producing a ball. Pick out the method best adapted to your individual style of working, but keep it simple. It is only the beginner who makes things complicated. The great artist strives for quality rather than quantity and brings everything down to its simplest, most natural form.

I wish that you might see and study the billiard ball work of Cardini, the great English Magician. He has studied his work so thoroughly that he has succeeded in eliminating every unnecessary movement. Each of his productions and vanishes are done so easily and naturally that each has in it the greatest element of surprise.

Another marvel with billiard balls is Dante (Herr Jensen). He has developed many difficult moves. For instance, four balls suddenly appear between the fingers of his right hand at once. Magicians would sit and gasp at his manipulative skill, yet Dante has discarded most of the difficult moves for the simpler, natural ones for he finds that the latter are more entertaining. After all, you are entertaining your audience, and it is only those things which have entertainment value which will impress them. The most difficult manipulative methods are often lacking in this and consequently are better not used.

It has taken time to write this lesson on Billiard Ball Magic for you. No one will appreciate this more than the master magician himself, who can judge by comparative values gained in years of study of manipulative work. The beginner is new to the subject and has no standard of comparison or contrast by which to judge. Too often, he takes it for granted that things in Magic are common knowledge and he also makes the mistake of thinking that simple things need not concern him.

It will take years for the new man in Magic to appreciate the real value of the methods given in this course and of the tremendous saving in labor and in money which it will mean to him.

Thurston, the famous Magician, and I were talking one day about Magic and success and he said this: "The world will never know the hard work and many hours I have spent to make my show a success. I had to get an idea here and another there — I had to spend many dollars and burn the midnight oil to study what would be accepted by an audience and what would not. Had I been able in the early days to get the training which you are now giving to your students, it would have saved me dollars and years of experimental work which could have been put to better use."

And a similar story is told by the other great Magicians. And it is because they realize the great value of this course that the finest minds in Magic have cooperated with me to HELP YOU. For this lesson, Cardini, himself, came into my studio and posed for many of the sleights with billiard balls which I teach you in this lesson.

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