Thursday, October 23, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 17th October

Noel Clair had developed an item in which he told a “Sam the Bell Hop” type of story. It was a great story, dealing cards from the deck to illustrate words in the story.  Then, using something as ordinary as a paper bag, he put coins into the bag, and vanished them, then from the same bag he produced nests of flowers.

Back in the May meeting, David Whitson had done a similar item to the card story told by Noel Clair.   Now he had developed this more, using Giant cards – which showed up very effectively – and now he had also developed a romantic theme, which worked well.   Another item that used prepared cards was a mentalism item - a frame spelling “Teamwork” (like the item “Perspex Prediction”, for those that have it).

Al Hirschel, with the “Packet Trick” theme in mind, had brought along a packet of cards with pictures of beautiful women.  However, when the volunteer tried to choose a card, they always get a surprise - a card with a picture of a very ugly woman!  Al described this as “a bit of harmless fun”.

“Deckstress” is a packet trick developed by Tim Ellis of Melbourne, and John Ferguson performed this.  He went on to do Gordon Bean’s “Entourage”, in which the spectator always chooses the correct queen of the four that might be there in the packet (but there turns out to be only that one queen, and the other 3 are jokers).  He did the classic trick “Chicago Opener”, and also “One More Chance”, invented by Morte Smith (“I’ll give you one more chance to add a few cards…. when you wake up at three in the morning,  you’ll wonder ‘what would have happened if I had agreed to add a few more cards?’”).

Two more magicians concluded the evening.   

Tom Blunden read us an interesting story.  Please remember, that if you have not had a chance to prepare a magic item, we would be delighted if you told us a joke, or read a story that impresses you – thank you, Tom. 

Elliott Copping asked a question.  He was working on a trick that uses the “Impulse Change”, and was finding it hard to work out how to do it.  Please can anyone help with this item?  Let Elliott know at the next meeting.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 18th July 2014

David Whitson led off the magic with “Farmyard Frolics” in memory of Edwin, and his "Supreme Magic Company", an English manufacturer of magic items.  For many years this company produced large numbers of excellent children’s magic items.  David also performed the Linking Rings as a tribute to magician Richard Ross.

To honour local magicians, Joel Howlett had brought along his personal archives, and displayed them for us to explore.  Magicians represented were Brendan Montana, Tim Ellis, David Whitson, Troppo Bob, Super Hubert, Peter Jones, Uncle Rex Sinclair and “Horace”, Tony Laffan and Chris Kelly from Ship O’Fools.

John Ferguson gave a tribute to Gary Neville, a member of Newcastle Magicians who had passed away last year.   Gary had built a set of Tumbling Rings for John, and he demonstrated them, and gave the URL for a video of how to make them - []Gary was particularly fond of these.
He was also fond of Bar Betchas.  John performed a number of Bar Betchas, including some balancing items that Gary had himself demonstrated on the TV show “Reach for a Rainbow”.

A Canadian magician, Stewart James, was active in the 1940’s – 1960’s and invented a massive number of magic tricks.  One of his most famous was a card effect that he called “Miraskil”.  Steve Irwin did a card item that was quite like Miraskil.  He also performed “Mother Goose”.

Our club’s Patron, Graham Holstein, gave tributes to Rex Sinclair.  “Uncle Rex” was a well-known Newcastle magician and radio announcer that continued performing to an advanced age here in Newcastle.  Graham gave reminiscences of his association with Rex, remembering Rex’s magic shop in Scott Street in the City.  Then Graham did a stunning performance of the “Magic Square”.

Andrew Pickard did a tribute to the magicienne Konnie Rooklyn, who was for some years a member of Newcastle Magicians, having previously been a member and President of the IBM Sydney Ring.  Andrew used the card guillotine made for her by the “Great Wong”, a Singapore magician.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 20th June 2014

Noel Clair, host for this meeting with the theme of “Rope Magic”,  led off with lots of appearing and disappearing knots.  He recalled his younger days when he frequently did reef knots, and showed us how he could multiply reef knots magically.

Joel Howlett of JD Magic did “Linking/Unlinking Rings” but with rope.  He tied the ends of three ropes so that each formed a single circle, then he interlinked the circles and unlinked them.   He followed this with the “Jumping Knot of Pakistan” invented by Pavel and improved by Daryl – a knot of white rope jumps from a white rope to a red rope.  Then he did lots of cut and restored rope effects, including a section where the rope was clearly cut and separated (one held in each hand) and then joined again into one rope – yes, impossible!

The “Equal / Unequal Ropes” is a classic effect, the favourite of many magicians, and Barry Whitson did this one neatly and mysteriously to our enjoyment.

The item shown us by Andrew Pickard was wonderfully colourful – three separate coloured ropes merged into a multicoloured circle of rope – a neat item.

The card item that John Ferguson did was invented by J C Wagner, an American magician who passed away recently.  What an inventor of card items was Wagner !    – the detail in this trick is amazing, and the placement of each and every card is crucial.

Pavel, the famous inventor of rope tricks, featured again in the “Knots on Rope” performed by David Whitson.  This is a mysterious effect in which knots appear on a rope as it is pulled through a colourless cylinder (and these knots are not false – they are really tied on, as David showed us by untying them!).  Your author has been puzzled greatly every time he has seen this done.    Another item that David did for us was a card with a cheetah (fastest land animal) speeding across by magic to another envelope some distance away.

Noel Clair performed the “Six Card Repeat” with a surprising ending that shocked those of us that thought they knew where this was going!   Ending the “Six Card Repeat” has been something of a challenge and it is great to see some imaginative variations !   He rounded out the evening with “Adventures in Time”, in which burnt matches became UN-burnt, a broken match was restored, and the time on a clock went backwards.

Monday, May 26, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 16th May

Al Hirschel, the host, led off the theme of “Card Tricks with a Borrowed Deck” by performing the 7 card trick ( a favourite of his) and then an item that I have called the “Solomon Islands Card Trick”.

John Ferguson did an item from the American comic magician Karrell Fox. He then did the Chicago Opener, the Drunken Shuffle and the 8 Card Brainwave.

An old favourite, the 21 card trick, was performed very well by Tom Blunden, who clearly enjoyed the presentation as much as we did.

Young enthusiastic Elliott Copping took us off to Paris with him and that’s where we found our chosen card!  What a story !

What a lot of beaut card tricks Noel Clair did ! He started with Cutting to Four Aces, then the Ambitious Card trick.  He did an illusion of vanishing four aces from four packs of cards and then producing the four aces at the end.  He turned four aces into  four cards that were all the same.   Then he did a fine “Oil and Water”, in which the spectator dealing cards *face down* into two piles manages to separate the (unseen) red cards from the black ones by magic !

"Chosen card at the spectator’s chosen number" is justly a classic trick, and it was nicely performed for us by Steve Irwin.

President David Whitson wrapped things up.  He told a great story in which he used cards from the deck to illustrate words in the story (e.g. “the German waiter said “Nein, Nein, Nein!  - and at each “nein” David produced a nine card from the deck”).  It was cheerfully entertaining, as magic should be, and we had a great time.

One spectator said “I hope you all enjoyed yourselves as much as I did watching such fine tricks”.  If you weren’t at the meeting and missed this evening, you missed a great time of enjoyment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 11th April

Joel Howlett hosted this evening, with the theme of "Silk Magic", and he opened with an effect in which he divided one silk into two, and we were about to say “that’s nice”, when, “Bang !” – a bottle of wine appeared in the middle of the two silks, and we said “that’s magic !”

A four silk blendo was the first item presented by John Ferguson.  Next, he vanished a silk, and it appeared inside a Coke bottle (the Coke bottle was so old that one magician present joked that it would be worth something to a collector !). John also presented the “Crystal Tube” in which silks placed individually in a clear tube come out knotted together.  Then he displayed a classic effect, the Silk Pedestal.  A silk is vanished, and it reappears inside a (covered) glass that has been in full view all the time standing on a pedestal.

Joel produced a white silk, then a red silk, and from these a red-and-white striped silk.  He then showed us the 20th Century silks routine.

Steve Irwin was neat.  He changed a blue silk into a red silk, then changed the red silk back to the blue silk.  Colour change is a big part of silk magic.

David Whitson started with a sad clown face on a silk, placed the silk into an empty cloth bag, and then showed that the silk in the bag had changed into one with a cheerful happy face.  He formed a silk into a floppy column, and showed how we could move the silk around, with an “invisible hair”.  With a play on the word “hare”, he then produced a rabbit silk.

Joel showed  a black scarf with a yellow silk tied to it, then he turned this into a massively long multicoloured streamer, then caused the yellow silk to jump back on the black scarf.  Your reported regrets that he has missed some details here, but, frankly, the routine was so fast-paced that he was left gasping for breath!

Noel Clair caused a silk to change colour when pulled through his hand.  Then he moved on to something different – Needle through Balloon, except that Noel put the needle through two balloons. This is the first time your reporter has seen this.  Noel also gave us some valuable tips with the needle through balloon effect – which is remarkably hard to do.  He uses a Jumbo balloon, and uses vaseline on the needle.

In all, it was a fine evening - thank you to Joel and all the performers.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What Happened at the meeting on Friday 21 March

Al Hirschel was the first of our magicians to perform for us this evening.  He started with a brass ball sinking magically into a tube too narrow for it, then moved to a trick with coloured model coffins – he could mysteriously tell which colour had been placed in the cover.

The theme of this meeting had been advertised as “Rubber Band Magic”, but the host, John Ferguson, had realized that most rubber band tricks only last 15 seconds or so, and it would be impossible to fill an evening with only Rubber Band Magic.  Therefore, after consulting with the President, they had broadened the topic to include “Close-up Magic”.   John performed the rubber band through finger, rubber band through card box, and “Particle Chamber”, in which a Canadian 10 cent coin is shredded into silver filings.

“This is a very old trick” announced President David Whitson as he showed us the Mystic Kings.  He had bought this as a young person, and loved it.  Three Kings change to blanks, then change to Aces.  Since rubber band magic was a theme, David also did the colour jumping band on the fingers, then concluded with Rising Wand.

Barry Whitson showed us the exchanging rubber bands, in which coloured hair loops of different colours exchanged places with the jerk of a finger.  Noel Clair commented, “this is the best quick visual effect that I know”.

Dan Harlan’s “Travelling Cash” is a clever item, in which folded paper money placed over one of four strands of rubber band moves down successively with no visible way of it happening.  This was brilliantly performed for us by Joel Howlett.  Afterwards, he couldn’t resist finishing with rubber band vanishing up nose!

Story telling dominated the performance of Noel Clair.   He revitalized the Jumping Rubber Bands by performing it to a story.  He did the Crossing and Uncrossing rubber bands.  Following on the theme of linking and unlinking, he showed that this could happen with safety pins.  While safety pins were in our minds, he did the classical trick of closing a safety pin on a handkerchief, then ripping the safety pin from one end of the hankie to the other, without damaging the material. 

Noel showed us the Dynamic Coins (used last month by David Whitson) and asked members to help him think up a story-line for this.  He showed he is not short of stories by doing the Colour Changing Pocket knife with a story about smuggling the ivory handle through Customs by changing it magically to ebony! 

In another item, he started with three nuts, changed this to a bolt and two nuts, then to one nut and a bolt screwed onto a nut.  Then, he did every manipulation possible with just a pen and a pen-top.  The top disappeared, then reappeared, then the pen vanished and so on…..

Cut and restored rubber band was the first item performed by Stuart Gray.  We saw the band knotted, and really cut with scissors, and then it was whole again!   We couldn’t believe our eyes! Stuart did Silver to Copper coin, then finished by making three coins vanish, then reappear, then vanish, then reappear….

Monday, February 24, 2014

What Happened at the meeting on Friday 21st February

Noel Clair led the meeting with the theme of Coin Tricks.  As an introduction, he started with a mathematical item that required several number inputs from a spectator, and the results were the spectator’s age and two digits of their phone number.

Steve Irwin showed us a close-up coin item.  Right in front of each person, he placed a coin openly on his palm, rubbed the coin vigorously, and it vanished.  He clearly showed us his hands and arms, and there was nowhere for the coin to go!

Neil Lynch chose a coin transposition for his item.  He displayed a silver coin in his palm, made a mystic pass, and the coin had changed into a copper coin.  Surprising !

Al Hirschel is very keen on impromptu items that a magician can do if he is asked to “Do a magic trick”.  Al did for us a “Do and Demonstrate” for an impromptu Coin through Spectator’s Palm.  Obviously anyone can carry or borrow a dollar coin, the only apparatus needed, and his impromptu presentation was convincing.

Another strong presentation was given to us by David Whitson.   He had developed a story presentation for Dynamic Coins, the classic brass coin box that many of us (including myself) have stored away, unused.  His story involved a person crossing over borders from one country to another and avoiding the theft of his money by the dishonest border guards by using the coin box to vanish his money.  We might be inspired to try it out !   David also had a novelty item of one large coin that could be split into two coins of the same diameter.

“Would you please mark your initials on this five cent piece?” asked Andrew Pickard of a volunteer.  He then showed the volunteer a pair of dishes, closed with rubber bands.  On opening these, and the enclosed pair of dishes, we found the marked coin in the centre of this nest.  A nice presentation of classic magic!

The evening was then very capably wrapped up by Noel Clair.  He used the French drop to vanish a coin,  and then produced from his knee, elbow or a spectator’s ear.  Taking a large card mat he performed a nice coin matrix (“with just a little shake of my hand one coin moves diagonally across..”).  He showed us how skilled was his manipulation as he repeatedly vanished and produced a huge coin (4 cm diameter across)    a coin that seemed impossible to hide !

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Happened at the Meeting on Friday 21st January

The theme of the January 2014 meeting was ”Free Choice” – which is a pretty broad theme ! - hosted by Al Hirschel.  "Free Choice" could include items we had been working on during the holidays..... 

Al's free choice was an alphabet game, in which the goal was to be the last person to cross out the last letter of the 26.  This fascinated all of us, particularly David Blunden, who did a logical and mathematical analysis of it to discover its workings ! 

Joel Howlett showed a diary with a card written on each day, and the card chosen by the spectator matched the one that was written on today’s date in the diary! In another card item, the chosen card disappeared from the deck and appeared back in the card box, which was on the table all the time. 

Next, Joel did a magnificent item.  He cut off ten talons from the pack of cards, and showed that they each had 1, 2 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 cards in them!  Then he turned over the top card of each pile and showed they were all the spades from 1 to 10 in numerical order!   He added the K, Q, J of Spades to complete the suit, then he mixed up the remaining cards.  Dividing the cards with two cuts, he displayed each of the the three packets – one had all the hearts in numerical order, and the others likewise all the clubs and all the diamonds. Stunning!…….   think of the practice this must necessitate !

John Ferguson did an item of Chemical Magic – Colourless to Muddy to Colourless illustrating a story that he told. (This uses silver nitrate, sodium hydroxide and ammonia.)

Al Hirschel did one of those wonderful story-telling items he likes so much in which he repeatedly turns over cards to illustrate the story he is telling. They work well - as long as every card turns up at the right moment, as they did - there's practice and skill.

Noel Clair was into story telling as well, and his story was based on the well-known jumping rubber bands, which we hardly recognized, it was so cleverly illustrated by his story.

He performed some items using hair securers, and levitated a card.  Then he did that beautiful classic, Card Warp, in which a card bent inside another card reverses from front to back as you push it through.

Barry Whitson performed Equal-Unequal Ropes – a nice rope routine that always goes well.

David Whitson showed us Three Card Monte using giant cards, and he talked about methods for doing this.

Our "free choices" ended up as a really enjoyable night.