July 03, 2008

Hot rod

When it comes to magic, I think I most enjoy doing card tricks and coin tricks, but only when I'm not using a trick deck or some specially made coin. Which is not to say that I haven't been buying self working mechanical magic tricks--I have, but most of them disappoint me. Perhaps it's the ease of performing the trick that disappoints.

Today my crystal cleaver arrived (I got it off ebay for considerably less than Magic Geek sells it, but they have a wonderful YouTube of the effect). It took me about five minutes to master the trick; I showed it to my son and then my wife; both were suitably impressed. After I did it, they examined the components of the trick (in this case, a small sword, a clear box with a lid, a larger box, the base, and my wedding band) and were baffled as to how the trick was done. And yet...

I also got my hot rod, which is a very simple trick (I had one when I was a kid and loved it) but is absolutely naked -- it depends entirely on a visible gesture made by the magician, in front of the audience. The apparatus itself is stupid -- if you let the audience inspect the trick, it's ruined. The entire illusion is in the hands, the voice, and in the mind of the viewer. It is infinitely more satisfying when the object -- the wand with paste jewels, the coin, the cards -- is a pretext, and the subject is the magician's gestures, voice and will.

Posted by Ideofact at July 3, 2008 01:26 AM