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Topic: Totally impromptu
Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 22, 2002 10:30PM)
Something I've been thinking about lately - what effect to do when you meet someone for the first time, they find out you're a magician, ask to see something, and you have nothing (prop wise) with you. What do you do?

My thoughts are that I want something that is a killer effect and requires something that I always have with me. I don't normally carry props with me but what I do have: a pen, two rings (wedding bands), wallet (with bills, credit cards, etc.), change in my pocket, and my brain (usually).

Message: Posted by: craig fothers (Jan 22, 2002 11:07PM)
I usually carry a TT around... they’re always handy anyway... but I usually have some cards in my wallet too!

The effect I usually perform firstup was shown to me by an Australian magician named Clifford Warne... and I "pull" the spec through a card.

It's not a killer effect... but it's a bit of fun. Lay folk are usually more suprised at the fact that I tear a hole in a card! :)

Maybe I need to play with that one...
Message: Posted by: Bernard Sim (Jan 23, 2002 05:54AM)
I always carry coins for coins across and rubberbands for Crazyman's Handcuffs.
Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 23, 2002 07:49AM)
OK, great things to carry with you but what if, for some reason, you don't have them with you?
Message: Posted by: Gavin W (Jan 23, 2002 12:01PM)
Then do a disappearing act :)
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jan 23, 2002 12:47PM)
How about Coins thru Table, 5 Object Equivoke, Centre tear or Equivalent,
it all depends on what you see around you, happen to have, or can borrow.

Or, how about a 20 object memory
also in one of the Paul Harris books
there is a method of apparently producing a large rock from your shoe. I have used this to produce ashtrays, drinking glasses any thing I think will get a good reaction.

phillip :bigdance:
Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 23, 2002 03:33PM)
Hey Phillip - any idea what the Paul Harris effect is called?
Message: Posted by: p.b.jones (Jan 23, 2002 05:34PM)
It is called "Earth Shoes" by Looy Simonoff
and it is in the book "Super Magic" by Paul Harris page 102

Message: Posted by: Geoff Williams (Jan 25, 2002 04:25PM)
Some impromptu effects that come to mind that require little, if any, setup (and the associated props):

"Starcle" by Dan Harlan (paper napkin)

Magic Square (pen & paper)

"Bipolar George" (paper money with a portrait such as a $1 bill - George Washington's face changes expression visibly on the bill as it's being tilted)

That transposition trick where you roll two bills together, back-to-back and at right angles to each other, and they instantly switch to being face-to-face. Strangely, few layfolk have ever seen this one and it's a stunner to them.

"Two Penny Trick" by Tenkai, a.k.a. "Tenkai Pennies" in Bobo's book (two small coins and a decent Goshman Pinch.

Salt Shaker Thru Table (salt shaker, coin, napkin)

"Arnold Schwarzenquarter" by Scott Franz, who started this whole thread (a US quarter or any other small coin)

"Finger Fantasies" by Meir Yedid - fingers disappear and reappear - VERY angly but totally impromptu if you're warmed up

"A Better MouseTrap" by Michael Weber - while the spectator has their eyes closed, you pull a small piece of paper all the way around their body (a piece of paper such as a 3 x 5 card)

"Zig-Zag" by Robert Harbin (a large Zig-Zag illusion and an assistant) - okay, I was just seeing if you were awake on that one.

Message: Posted by: Ronin (Jan 28, 2002 12:23AM)
Since you carry pens around and change, how about David Williamson's "Coin in pen cap" (versions from either Michael Ammar's big book or his "Easy to Master Money Miracles" tape)?

Also, there's Meir Yedid's Arm Twister (which will probably get a bit overdone now, thanks to the new DVD, but I think it's pretty strong).

I've been using "Fizzmaster" (from Paul Harris' Art of Astonishment Vol 1 video, I think) alot lately. It KILLS, despite the exposure in Penn and Teller's "How to Play in Traffic" book.

Michael Weber makes the point in "Lifesavers" that no magic is truly impromptu, in that you at least have to have practiced the effect! It becomes a matter of learning to work with whats at hand, and to have your props/gimmicks with you. Now that I think of it, I really like the impromptu copper/silver transposition he has in that book, although I haven't performed it in awhile.
Message: Posted by: Peter Marucci (Jan 28, 2002 05:39AM)
Oh, durnnit, Geoff; I was going to suggest Zig-Zag! :rotf:
Okay, failing that, one thing I always have with me is my No-Gimmick Scotch and Soda:
No gimmicked coins, no reset, (and, most importantly) no cost.
If anyone is interested, e-mail me privately and I'll send you the routine and handling.
Peter Marucci
Message: Posted by: Rolando Santos (Jan 28, 2002 08:26AM)
"Something I've been thinking about lately - what effect to do when you meet someone for the first time, they find out you're a magician, ask to see something, and you have nothing (prop wise) with you. What do you do?

Ï do a quick bit of mentalism ---- Elephants in Denmark or I do some vanishes and such with my wedding ring or theirs. In fact that is the area of magic I am currently trying to work on to improve my technique.

For Elephants in Demmark, I simply say that I am going to plant an idea in their head with a bit of magic or through mass hypnosis if there is more than one person around.

Then I write Grey Elephants in Demark on a piece of paper, fold it and have them hold the paper during the routine.
I also carry the Mark Jenest Magic Credit Card in my wallet.

With or without it, I am good to go.

Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Jan 28, 2002 09:56AM)
You are obviously not familiar with my "Quarters Over the Head". Email me and I'll send you the work.

Actually, don't waste your time. Email Peter for his no gimmick S&S instead.
Message: Posted by: ldl1017 (Jan 28, 2002 10:30AM)
Greg Wilson's "On the Spot" video has some great impromptu stuff.

1) Trick Question... copper/silver using a penny and a dime

2) Glossy Finish... the old ash thru hand trick done with lipstick. Or do it the old fashioned "David Blaine" way

Tons of stuff out there.
Lou Lepore :donut1:
Message: Posted by: spfranz (Jan 28, 2002 06:45PM)
Many good suggestions, thanks to all.
Message: Posted by: Bird Brain (Jan 28, 2002 09:25PM)
Ohhh, the ash thru the hand with LIPSTICK! HEY, now THAT'S a girlie getter! :lol:

Goin' to get 'em,
Bird Brain
Message: Posted by: Mr. Ed (Jan 29, 2002 02:38PM)
Speaking of a girlie getter, watch Greg Wilson on the On The Spot Video. A lot of his spectators are pretty girlies. I love that tape set, my wife thinks it's cause of the girls. But it is because it is really good stuff. :crazydude: :bwink:
Message: Posted by: DoctorAmazo (Jan 31, 2002 06:06AM)
I've been using "Fizzmaster" (from Paul Harris' Art of Astonishment Vol 1 video, I think) alot lately. It KILLS, despite the exposure in Penn and Teller's "How to Play in Traffic" book.

I'm not being critical...just curious. Why is it "exposure" when P/T put it in a magic book, but OK when Paul Harris put it on a magic tape? I'm reasonably sure it isn't original to either of them.
Message: Posted by: Stephen Long (Feb 2, 2002 10:39PM)
It is original to Paul Harris and Eric Mead.
Something of a joint effort.

Mr Spfranz, check out Greg Wilson's "Re-Cap" (think it's on his "on the spot" videos).
All you need is one (completely unprepared) pen.

:carrot: :banana:
Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Feb 3, 2002 12:08AM)
Yeah Gonz, but why not do it with Banachecks Psychokinetic pen instead?

Or would that lead us back to the improv vs. impromptu debate?

Well at least now I know the difference. :nod:
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Feb 3, 2002 02:01AM)
(Getting the sense he is being mocked....)

Anyway, Burt, the question was "when you have nothing with you." I think that the PP would be ruled out here.
Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Feb 3, 2002 09:16AM)
Eek. I hope that didn't sound mocking. I would never mock Gonz, not to his face anyways.

I was merely commenting that I (me, Burt, the Yakster) was unaware of the subtle differences between the two terms until I was enlightened through this discussion.

My recommendation to carry the PP on your person all the time was illustrating my penchant for prepared impromptu pen practices vice improv pen prestidigitation.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Feb 3, 2002 11:43PM)
It wasn't Gonz I thought you were mocking--it was ME, for bringing uo the whole, "Let's define the difference bit!"

But even if you are mocking me, I can take it, and know you are just teasing me....



Not that I'm insecure, but you are just...

Ah, of course you are!
Message: Posted by: Axman (Feb 6, 2002 12:12PM)
Mumblepeas made a GREAT post to the "Meeting of minds" board over at visions. I still go and read his post and the ones that follow fairly regularly becuase it contains an entire act using a pen and some scrap paper. I urge you to go and check it out. It's inspiring stuff.
It can be found in the Impromtu section of said board.
Message: Posted by: Burt Yaroch (Feb 7, 2002 10:54AM)
Yes, it WAS you I was mocking Scott. Sorry for the confusion. :bwink:
Message: Posted by: Brian Proctor (Feb 7, 2002 10:54AM)
Never leave my house without my TT, rubberbands, cards or coins. You never know when your gonna make an impact on someone. Always be prepared I say. :fruity:
Message: Posted by: saglaser (Feb 9, 2002 12:47AM)
For something that really looks impromptu, costs virtually nothing, is easy to do and impresses the heck out of folks, carry a book of matches.

Most matches have a facing of prettier paper on one side of the match stick and plain grey cardboard on the other. Tear one out, hold it by the match head, and you can do an almost effortless paddle move for a color-changing match.

Technically, it couldn't be simpler. So you can put all your effort into making an enjoyable presentation.

Bottom line: An impressive-looking quickie you can do in 15 seconds, leave 'em wanting more, look like a pro and be done before the greatest fans of Short Attention Span Theater have a chance to grow restless. And you can get your props for free!
Message: Posted by: Joe M. Turner (Feb 9, 2002 10:40AM)
In my wallet, I carry a set of bills for Roger Klause's ultimate bill transposition. This is an extremely clean looking, magiclaly strong close-up effect that takes place in the spectator's hand and uses money. It has never let me down. It did require preparation but I've always got it now.

I like Starcle, too, as well as the old napkin rose. I have been known to do a magic square for someone to "warm up the old brain cells." (I use the method in _The Lost Notebooks of John Northern Hilliard_.)

One other quick thing I do is a routine directly tied to illustrating that my profession is based on manipulating the perceptions of the audience.

Message: Posted by: MagicalChris (Feb 9, 2002 03:38PM)
Ok, it must be my turn to say something..

I dont use any magic prop or gimick for impromptue.. I like it cause if someone were to say "Do a trick Chris" then I could play it like I dont have any tricks that I had to pay for or whatever then with a borrowed dollar bill end up creating 4 quarters from it or whatever.. Its just great!

I have actually made up a few good impromptue tricks.. one wich I just said is called makin money where you borrow a bill and end up producing coins from it..

ALl you need is some change in your pocket.. But I would also consider it impromptue if you have a wallet in your pocket (who doesnt? besides me lol) why not have a miss made bill folded up in there? or a gimicked coin in the coin pouch.. Either way you can do mind blowing magic on request ON THE SPOT! lol like Greg Wilsons video.. wich I do not have because I dont really need more impromptue than what I know allready I do although have is Off the Cuff video wich is very good as well..

thats about all,
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Feb 10, 2002 08:27PM)
There was a time I always carried with me:

A deck of cards

a T-tip and silk

an ITR

and some large coins

I don't carry anything anymore. I've been doing basic sleight of hand so long that I just make up tricks as I go. I borrow a quarter, I use toothpicks, I vanish someone's cell phone. Just about any object you find laying about can be used. I've even done magic with rocks and pebbles. I like the approach because it's just like real magic. Little kids will hand me a pen cap, a stick of gum, a piece of candy. You can use anything. Just play with it. I've come up with some of my favourite things on the spot.

Play with it, it's fun.

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (Feb 19, 2002 11:43AM)
I carry, a deck, coins, rubberbands & a T.T. with me at all times. I also have Kollasal Killer set up in my wallet.

I also have a routine I'm working on which combines the haunted key & a cut a restored string. I just wear the key on the string around my neck & I'm ready to go.

The story for the trick is about lost love & remebering whats important to you, at the end I produce a small crystal from my eye(a tear drop). Getting set for the ending only takes a second & it is a big surprise.

It has gotten great reaction so far, I think because it seems very impromptu.

Message: Posted by: SloMo150 (Feb 20, 2002 12:10AM)
I always carry two TT and coins with me. Also a hankerchief or a bandanna. Occasionally I take a set of D'lites with me. All this fits in one pocket of my jacket so I am always ready to go. :magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: Marduke Kurios (Feb 21, 2002 10:35PM)
If I forgot everything...like my coins, bills, a pen, paper, my wallet, my shoelaces, my I.D. cards...I guess I would have to pick up a stone or a blade of grass and wow them with that. Normally I do have some if not all of those things on me at any given time (along with the magic stuff).
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Mar 8, 2002 05:55PM)
There are so many good impromptu tricks with coins in J.B. Bobo's book - in fact, I've shown my friends/family lots of the supposedly "better" tricks in there, like Sympathetic Coins, and those don't "wow" them nearly as much as the spur-of-the-moment ones like Coin Through Leg, Coin Through Pocket, Coin Through Hand, etc. I highly recommend those; also I've found that for some reason the jumping rubber band amazes a LOT of people. Oddly enough, I learned that one off the back of a Kool-Aid box many years ago. Apparently not as many people drink Kool-Aid as I thought . . .
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Mar 9, 2002 01:00AM)
Oh my gosh! Vanishing a cell phone?? That could create riots! :goof: I like your attitude on that, though. I used to do that, but I've lost confidence, being out of magic for about four years or so. Now I'm practicing again . . . I do a lot of coin tricks especially; I can't fathom how one would vanish a cell phone, though; I think I'll start working on that one . . . anybody thought about any effects taking advantage of the new quarter designs? That thought keeps recurring to me . . . there has to be some opportunity there.
Message: Posted by: Jeb Sherrill (Mar 9, 2002 07:11PM)
Well Serling, I'll be honest, I can only vanish the new "little" nokias. I suppose I could use the folding kind too. It's about like vanishing a palm size ball. And they're still getting smaller...One day, we'll vanishing them like coins.

:dance: :dance: :dance: :dance: :dance:
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Mar 10, 2002 05:00AM)
Ah well, I'm out of touch with technology . . . I don't even have a cell phone. :hrmph: My Dad has a Nokia though, and come to think of it , it is pretty small;somehow the thought just never occurred to try to vanish it. He does a good enough job of vanishing it himself though . . . he loses it all the time . . . :goof: Maybe I can start finding it and making it "magically" appear . . . heh heh . . . :P
Message: Posted by: NickW (Mar 22, 2002 11:38AM)
Glad to see mention of Wilson's 'On the Spot' videos, as I've found some good stuff on there. If I didn't even have change on me, I'd borrow some - even more impact when it's their 10p coins rather than yours which go from hand to hand.

Of all the ones on the tape, the one which I've done most (easy, good effect) is 'A questionable trick' (impromptu copper-silver transposition in a spectator's hands), though I'm still looking for a better way in than the 'trick question' which gives the effect its name. It needs something to fix the spectator's mind on the two different coins in your hand, but I don't like trick questions!

Any ideas?
Message: Posted by: Jim Pace (Mar 25, 2002 12:58AM)
In a pinch, has any one heard of Paul Harris' Biological ESP? This will fool even the most seasoned magician. Coin under spectators watch is also a goody. Even the Balducci levitation catches people off gaurd.
My favorite, depending on the situation, is screaming real loud; when they close their eyes and cover their ears I duck behind something.(kidding)
Message: Posted by: hackmonkey (Mar 25, 2002 05:29PM)
Talking of cell phones when people ask me ro show them some magic I tell them I have a new invisible nokia. I point to my empty hand which is in a, 'I'm holding an invisible phone' position and begin talking in it "hello". They either think I'm mad or taking the *****, I look at them and say 'no really!' point to my hand one more time then wave my hand and my phone appears. It's one effect people always mention when they tell their friends or tell me its the one they just can't work out. I also vanish peoples phones telling them "oh this phone has a stealth mode, so it can't be stolen". Magic with objects that people haven't see used by other magicians is very strong. :devilish:
Message: Posted by: Phil Lawson (Apr 16, 2002 08:56AM)
The 3/4 coins accross Gre wilson and pen cap etc.. really strong peices of magic with little setup
Message: Posted by: Madge (Apr 21, 2002 12:30PM)
Regarding Paul Harris' Biological ESP. What's the effect? It's not in any of the AOA books.
Message: Posted by: groovy (May 10, 2002 05:21PM)
Vanishing your phone in a topit under the guise of tossing it upwards. No wonder mobile phone theft is on the rise...

Message: Posted by: qkeli (May 19, 2002 03:48PM)
I think there's also a lot of good stuff on the first video of Greg Wilson called "off the cuff","something with anything""recap"...
Message: Posted by: mrbungle (May 20, 2002 05:34PM)
WHAT About the balducci levitation? you can do it almost anywhere. I always get my adrenaline pumping, and afterwards let them feel my very fast heartbeat. looks magical! I have even done it naked!
Message: Posted by: Lesault (May 21, 2002 08:46AM)
I always have Kolossal Killer in my wallet.. I also do a lit cigarette vanish if I happen to be smoking at the time.
Message: Posted by: Philemon Vanderbeck (May 21, 2002 12:16PM)
On 2002-05-20 18:34, mrbungle wrote:
WHAT About the balducci levitation? you can do it almost anywhere. I always get my adrenaline pumping, and afterwards let them feel my very fast heartbeat. looks magical! I have even done it naked!

So there's one effect that I'll be including in my upcoming book, "Magic for Nudist Colonies."

Any others?

Message: Posted by: Michael Peterson (May 22, 2002 08:33PM)
So there's one effect that I'll be including in my upcoming book, "Magic for Nudist Colonies."

Any others?


2 in the hand, 1 in the...........never mind.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Ed (May 23, 2002 11:40AM)
Is it just me or is it skirting the line when someone named MrBungle talks about being naked? :rotf: :rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Kaliix (May 26, 2002 04:50PM)
My favorite impromptu trick is rolling the bills. You just need two bills of different denominations. Put one bill on top of the other in a "V" formation, roll them up while the spectator is holding the top portion of the "V" down with their fingers. When the bills are unrolled the bill that was on the bottom is now on top.

It's a great impromptu trick and I have left more than a couple people there with their bills rolling and unrolling them trying to figure it out. :lol:
Message: Posted by: merricksforge (Dec 2, 2006 11:50PM)
Speaking of 'nudist colonies' and 'bills', how about "Buck Naked"(all you need are 3 bills), "Ultimate Rip-off"(can be done on more than just ordinary playing cards), "PDQ#2"(4 quarters or half dollars), "Quarter Caper"(2 half dollars and borrow a quarter), "Endland's penetration"(2 dimes and 1 spec's naked hand), And there is "Within your reach" by Jack McCandless(I do not do this effect but I think it requires no more than 2 arms and 1 torso). If you do not have all 3 AOA books by Paul Harris and Eric Mead. They are well worth the effort it takes to sell annoying family members to Shady Sweat Shops in China. Thanks again Dad!

Message: Posted by: nbps05 (Dec 3, 2006 12:00AM)
Stigmata or bend a coin in the persons hand
Message: Posted by: CaptRitz (Jul 14, 2007 04:24PM)
There's always salt shaker thru the table
Message: Posted by: Lash (Jul 14, 2007 05:21PM)
I usually have something on me, some coins, a silk, or Gen Grant's 5 to 1 bill transpo. Sometimes I'll have Misled on me.
Message: Posted by: CAROLINI (Jul 16, 2007 12:01PM)
The swami can solve this and many other similar problems. KISS
Message: Posted by: paulsmag (Jul 19, 2007 09:39PM)
I love the power of words. They can be interpreted so differnetly. Impromptu obviously means diferent things to different people. I just think of interpreting impromptu from my audience point of view. If they ask me to show them something it really does not matter to me if I have just practiced it for the previous 3 months....what matters to me....is that my sudience thinks it's impromptu...if they think it's impromptu then it is.
Message: Posted by: closeupcardician (Jul 20, 2007 04:32PM)
Doing a fade away knot in a handkerchief never fails to get good reactions.
Message: Posted by: jonxodus (Jul 24, 2007 04:55AM)
I love doing stigmata and headtrip(Greg Wilson). Gets laughs all the time. To impress do stigmata.
Message: Posted by: CAROLINI (Aug 8, 2007 05:32PM)
Should a person who puprots to be a magician do a mentalist effect? Would this not leave some doubt in a person's mind as to the distinction? And don't you agree that there should be a distinction? Just curious!
Message: Posted by: Gabriel Knight (Aug 19, 2007 07:44PM)
If you have a little skill there are many things you can do in almost any situation. Depending what part of the world your in, lots of different things are almost always around. If you have a PK ring and a lighter, combined with these things you can do almost any kind of magic.

YOUR hand is always with you, (dan harkey's video has a load on this, garret thomas) Removing fingers and other things can be done very well or funny.

USA : coins, pens, straws, rings, cups, napkins, candy /tic tacks, bills, paper, lipstick, Rubber bands are in most shops, Shoe String, matches, lighters, bottles, wine glasses, sugar packets(Joe givins straw in sugar packet),

Asia: Big plastic/jade Braclets, Chopsticks, Straws, Coins, Chinese spoon, The paper pocket that covers a chopstick, Toothpicks, Fork type wood toothpicks (restored Tine like the pastic forks), 1000 different kind of bottles, Banna leafs (used to wrap sticky rice)

Uk: Crumpets, clotted cream, Tea - ok forget UK

So if you were to take a evening, and sit down with the idea of these things would be around, you can build a routine that would be strong. Strong things would be transpositions, transformations, Penetrations, mentalism oh and FIRE(didn't know that was and effect, but laymen seem to think so".

Ring on stick, Ring on shoelace routine. 1000 rubber band routines(pinicale is one). PK chopstick, sizzle with a straw, Recaped combined with impromptu hitman then going into ring on shoelace. Then "NO PROPS" at all, mind reading tricks. Starkle(danharland)

"Come on people" we can do better than this, a list of stuff found around making up a routine, you should be able to do a full 30 to 40 minute show with a quarter and pen and some old dudes nasty hankey.
Message: Posted by: Gabriel Knight (Aug 19, 2007 11:19PM)
Forgot to add Ties, bras and whatever else you can rip off people to the list..
Message: Posted by: Tone (Aug 20, 2007 11:33AM)
Be aware of your surroundings; improvisation is a wonderful thing!

Gabriel- do you shop at the hippity hop?
Message: Posted by: Gabriel Knight (Aug 20, 2007 02:40PM)
Anyone in this area doing magic, Knows Hippity Hop magic and the owners. Or if they belong to the IBM club too.
Message: Posted by: Shodan (Aug 23, 2007 06:51PM)
I like the "Ring Thing" - and I'm always wearing my wedding ring, so that's impromptu. I always carry a wallet too, so I'm all set to make a coin (or ring I guess) disappear and reappear inside the wallet inside a folded up banknote placed there earlier. If I happen to have a permanent marker around the coin can be signed. I usually have a deck of cards, so the previous effect can vary to "coin to folded up banknote inside card case". If I'm skint the money can be borrowed. Making a credit card float for a moment is neat if you can manage the spectator's attention.
Message: Posted by: magicblademan (Aug 24, 2007 10:03AM)
Always carry my coins with me ,but will perform such as broken and restored rubber band ,salt shaker through table and the Ash trick if anyone there smokes.
Message: Posted by: magicupclose (Sep 5, 2007 07:48PM)
You should be able to improvise with just about any small object, using sleight of hand. You can learn a few simple Magic Square methods, so all you need to borrow is paper and a pen/pencil.
Message: Posted by: NicholasD (Sep 5, 2007 07:55PM)
Back in the days when John Kennedy lived in my area, we were in a restaurant and he was asked to do a trick. He borrowed 2 quarters and 2 pennies for Milliken's Transposition. A wonderful trick, done impromptu, by a wonderful magician.