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Topic: Going Through Airport Security with Gaffed Coins
Message: Posted by: Larry Barnowsky (Apr 20, 2003 05:00PM)
Have any of you had any unusual experiences going through airport security or customs?

My Porter Case, which I use to transport my act, (cups and balls, six 12 inch linking rings, decks of cards, close up mat, and a variety of coins including some gaffs etc.)was singled out for a search. I saw the X-ray operator make a sign with his finger that was a circle and a facial expression that told me he had no clue what this was (The six linking rings).

As they started to search the case I told them I was a magician. The security man was rather nice and as he opened a purse containing some regular coins and a few gaffs, I took the coin from him and did a quick vanish and reproduction. Since that seemed to satisfy him, he stopped searching that purse. I guess I misdirected him a bit. Fortunately he didn't touch my rings.

On the way down to West Palm I taped the rings together including the breech. I forgot on the way home to do that but fortunately he didn't touch the rings. I had a similar thing happen at JFK customs years ago and that turned into a short close up performance for several inspectors.

Anyone else have a similar story or strategies to protect your stuff?
Message: Posted by: Micheal Leath (Apr 20, 2003 05:07PM)
I've had a D'Lite in my pocket and set off the metal detector. They asked me what it is. So, here I am trying to explain what it does. "You see, it goes on your thumb and you produce a ball of light. Trust me, I'm a magician." They search my bags and see things like Rocky Raccoon and gaffed coins. After a few minutes more of trying to explain what I was doing with a spring loaded raccoon, they finally let me through. I have not traveled by plane since 9/11, so it may be more difficult trying to get through the gates.
Message: Posted by: Tim Trono (Apr 20, 2003 05:14PM)
You also have to be very careful if you are in any way touching or even near various pyrotechnics as they can supposedly cause false readings if you then touch anything else. I had my laptop swabbed and it showed as TNT after I was in Vegas. The security people were very kind and professional but explained that any exposure to pyrotechnics or even a flash paper could transfer with false results. Obviously they took my number, looked through my briefcase very closely, etc.

Thus you really have to also THINK what you have... you could loose a color changing knife, etc. if you inadvertently put it in your carry on.

Tim Trono
Message: Posted by: Bobcape (Apr 20, 2003 07:11PM)
I had a scary experience last October and it was my fault.

I was attending a conference in Southern California and in exchange for the registration fee I agreed to do an hour of strolling magic the night before at the intro cocktail party and an hour at the last night's party. I asked my host to buy me a container of lighter fluid since I could not fly with it. I carried my close-up case on with me.

My host bought the lighter fluid as requested and I used it the first night in my fire wallet and I put the rest into my close-up case in the same spot I always do, so I could use it for the last night of the conference.

On the last day, the conference center experienced a brown out so we were moved to a new location. Well, the transportation to the new location and setup time ate into the dinner schedule and my strolling gig was cut. No biggie. The problem is, I forget to remove the lighter fluid from my close-up case.

The next day I flew out of San Diego to Salt Lake with no problem. I had a 4-hour layover in Salt Lake so I left the airport for a little while. When I returned, they did a thorough search of my case and found the lighter fluid. It was not a laughing matter.

It took over an hour to get that worked out. And of course I missed my flight and had to wait for the late one. The moral of the story is - even if you're sure, check again.

Message: Posted by: Paul Sherman (Apr 20, 2003 07:52PM)
I heard Paul Cummins relating a story that happened to a fellow magician, unfortunately I can't remember the name. The poor guy had an 8-ball (for John Bannon's "Trick Shot Production") and a Jardine/Ellis ring in his bag. They were right next to each other when they went through the x-ray machine.

Solid sphere with a solid ring apparently attached to it.

Must be a grenade.

He was thrown up against the wall and generally mistreated until things got resolved. So, for all travelling magi, pack your billiard ball seperate from anything ring shaped.

Message: Posted by: CardiniMan (Apr 22, 2003 11:42PM)
Last year I was coming back from Baltimore after attending the Event that Alain Nu throws. Great time... although most of it I spent just eating good food and staying up till dawn with Bob Kohler and Seth Kramer. I mention them because it's partially their fault (well mostly Bobs) I got busted at the airport.

The whole time I was with him I carried his 3fly in my pocket to go over some handling. We had so much fun I never got around to it and forgot it was still in my pocket. I walk through security ...busted. They do the electronic wand that goes off like my ex-wife near my pocket and I pull out the coins. I put them in the plastic tray and just as the Murphys law gods had not gone away yet... the gimmick becomes exposed.

The security woman picks it up and says out loud that she thinks it's a hidden type of knife. Just as I'm about to explain, a voice from behind states ...don't worry, he's a magician... those are trick coins. Now a smart person would have just agreed and would have shortly been munching on bad pretzels and slurping filled to the top soda during turbulence ...but not me brother.

That proverbial cat's death left no lesson for me to embrace. I had to know how this other security guard knew. He says you were at the magic convention weren't you. I said yes... are you a magician. He said no ...but a few days ago... some French magician sat over there for about three hours waiting to be picked up and showed everyone tricks while he waited. He was referring to Gaeton Bloom.

I ran into Gaeton a couple of months later in Vegas and related the story and told him I would buy him as many drinks as he would like because if it was not for him I would have had to be explaining to some guy named Bubba why we were sharing a cell.

Oh... I did get on the plane, but of course when she gave me back the gimmick... I affixed it to the front of my shoe (where it really belonged) and after a few slow motion matrix style flying sweeping kicks... cut the throats of all the security personal.

Sorry... I just couldn't resist.