(Close Window)
Topic: Flexible mirror
Message: Posted by: soleil (Jan 19, 2017 03:38PM)

could you please suggest some routines - printed or others - on the flexible mirror trick?

Thank you!

Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 19, 2017 04:07PM)
The Flexible Mirror only does one routine, that of bending the mirror and the penetration of the mirror. The mirror can be examined before and after the routine.


I believe originally it was called Flexible Glass.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jan 19, 2017 07:32PM)
I think you are being a bit unimaginative Bill. I guess simply bending and penetrating the mirror could be thought of as a routine... but it sounds more like a real bare bones, absolute basic and likely dull one. I see that as being more of a demonstration of what the trick is rather than as a routine. But even if one does consider that to be a routine... it's by no means the only one that can be applied to this prop.

A routine, as far as I understand it, is the presentation, framing and context of the actions and handling you use to do the trick.

So for example, you might explain that you've got a new product for the 'Shark Tank' investors to put their money into. (Dragon's Den in the UK ) It's a mirror that can be mounted on flat wall... or on a corner. The scripting, presentation and handling of the trick within this context would become the routine.

Or maybe the mirror is a present for someone that you want to send by post but it's just too big for the standard sized package. So to avoid having to pay for the next size up you fold it in half and manage to save some money on the postage. Again, there is a context for the trick. How you play this out, the actions, scripting, and finessing of the handling would be the routine.

Or perhaps you wanted to hang the mirror up... and your less than sharp friend offered to help.... but they threaded the hanging cord through the glass.... and then hung it so it covered the only electric outlet in the bathroom.... but they'd thought of that and somehow had the mirror bend so you could lift the bottom half up to get to the outlet.

Or maybe it's the mirror from the Snow White story.... and you act out what the Wicked Queen did to it when she got a less than top rating in the fairest looks department from the mirror.

Or maybe you can come up with a string of mirror based lines and gags you can weave them around the actions of the trick

These ideas are straight off the top of my head and their potential to work as routines may be awful, fantastic or indifferent. Irrespective of that though, they hopefully illustrate that there's more potential in this (and any) trick other than just doing it as a demonstration of whatever it is that it does.

Routine's for tricks are generally limited only by the performer's imagination and their ability to make whatever they come up with connect with an audience. Learning the tricks is usually the easy part. Routining them into successful mini pieces of self contained theatre is generally the much harder part.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 20, 2017 07:30AM)
Sealegs, the original post ask for the routine, and that I gave him, the bare bones routine. I see the routine as the steps in the actions of the using the prop. I was going to expand, to include, personality, tonal speech, presentation style and imagination, etc. For me all these are separate to the question. I read the question as being bare bones, and I consider routine and presentation to be separate words that can go hand in hand, but are still separate questions.

This question brought back the memories of seeing the Flexible Glass advertised the Tannen's Catalog many year ago. It only had a drawing of a magician flexing a sheet of glass. Not mention of a frame or being put in a bag, or even being penetrated with objects. So I never ordered it, but it was an intriguing small advertisement.

Then I was surprised when I seen Doug Henning do it on one of his early television specials. I thought, so that what it is, and Doug Henning brought that mysterious catalog ad to life. I wonder how many magician purchased that trick and were disappointed at the apparatus they received put it aside.

I always wanted to purchase it and give it a try, but I have never seen a frame deceptive enough and designed to my liking. Sterlini Magic Mfg. has some of the best looking thus far in my opinion.

Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jan 20, 2017 09:30AM)
Thanks for explaining Bill. I get where you are coming from.

I decided to make my post because your previous one seemed to suggest that there was nothing more to do with this trick other than showing that the mirror could bent and penetrated. To me that was like saying, all you can do with a piano is play the notes on it. I wanted to let 'soleil' and any others curious about this or any other prop that there can be much more to magic tricks than the steps in the actions that make them work. Anyone who has followed your posts on here over the years Bill would know that isn't a position you'd promote but it was nevertheless how it read.

Like you Bill I am sadly not young enough to have missed the era of having to order from catalogues... but with the prevalence of YouTube to promote magic tricks there's now a whole new ad different set of issues to contend with when considering the potential of what it is you might be buying.

Anyway lets hope this has helped inspire soleil to come up with something creative with this prop.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Jan 23, 2017 02:34PM)
One thing that always bother me about this apparatus is this the bending of the mirror or the bending of the frame and mirror? On all the models they camouflage the frame.

Couldn't it be that the frame is flexible but the mirror is not, and the frame has the power to flex the mirror when it is within the frame?

Which presentation would work in a magic show, that both the frame and mirror are flexible when hidden from view, or just the mirror flexes?

The great Oswald Rae who also invented/created the Bandit Routine, created this effect as well. Unfortunately the 3 books he wrote has no information on his creations that were brought to America and used by many famous magicians of the time. I wonder what his original intension was in presenting this effect.

There doesn't seem to be any logic concerning the frame, as I see it.
Message: Posted by: Sealegs (Jan 23, 2017 04:40PM)
I think the frame, as far as the effect is concerned is largely immaterial. While the frame would of course have to bend for the mirror to bend a bending frame (even one with ni hinges visible) doesn't present a mystery. Frames can be hinged and those hinges can be hidden. If you did the trick without the mirror there would be virtually no effect. A mirror can't be hinged without there being some evidence of a hinge. So the trick is just about the mirror not the frame. The frame can be thought of as just 'going along for the ride'.

Another trick in more recent times that has a similar (but different) element is John Kaplan's Killer cut. A hanky is wrapped in a pice of newspaper and both clearly cut in half... with the two halves places next to each other the hanky is pulled out from the paper and it is seen to be restored. The newspaper actually gets restored too... but this is not referred to and although it happens it goes unnoticed. Like the frame the newspaper goes along for the ride. It could after all be glued back together in a way the hanky can't.

While this oddness of what happen to the frame (and the newspaper) is not adding anything to the robustness of either effect it is not distracting from it either. In both cases there is an extra effect.... but it's not a strong one and so it's left unnoticed in the shadows.To bring attention to either the frame or the newspaper would be a mistake, introduced a weaker effect into the routine and muddy the waters of what is otherwise a clear plot.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Jan 23, 2017 08:38PM)
The one I bought from Mikame is of good quality.
Message: Posted by: AllanK (Jan 24, 2017 07:12AM)
About 15 years ago I was asked to perform a show to an invited audience at the opening of an exhibition of rare editions of children's books at our State Library. The centrepiece of the exhibition was a copy of Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson). All of the tricks I performed were based on this book. I purchased a Flexible Mirror just for this performance, and it went down very well. My presentation was humorous and based on the premise that I had bought the mirror on eBay for a lot of money as the dealer claimed it was owned by Lewis Carroll and had strange properties that were the inspiration for Alice's journey through the mirror. It was obvious to the audience that I had been conned because the mirror was an anachronism - clearly a modern plastic mirror with a lurid frame (Ickle Pickle!). I claimed that the original glass mirror had broken and had had to be replaced, as had the frame! The consequent penetration by the needle and the bending got the much desired "gasps" from this "highbrow" audience!

In case you're wondering, I also performed a book test with the book. The fact that Dodgson was a mathematician enabled me to use a number force to force the words (I think it was the White Knight) - the revelation being the appearance of one of John Tenniel's original illustrations of the White Knight from the book in a picture frame. I finished with Cardiographic. One of the guests was an Academy Award winning animator who was completely bowled over by this one!
Message: Posted by: soleil (Feb 6, 2017 05:22PM)
Thank you very much Bill and Sealegs and the others for your valuable comments.
Sorry for my late response as I was out of town and very busy.

It is a long topic. There are still some points that are intriguing for me:

As far as I know (please correct me if I am wrong), the inventor of the prop Oswald Rae from the Uk, showed that the glass would come out of the frame. Then he showed the frame would bend. Then he proceeded to the usual handling. The thinking and psychology behind it is that the audience will not think about something hidden because they already have seen the hidden.

My thinking is the opposite. The first time I saw Henning do the effect, when he took out the mirror from the frame, it was so obvious to me (and may be to other spectators) that the frame is quite smaller than the frame. Therefore sliding is very possible. And he used sliding to take out the mirror. Very logical and potentially revealing. Of course, the routine goes very fast so (may be?) nobody is actually getting the secret.
So my philosophy is to stay as far away as possible from the real secret and workings. This means: don't slide away the mirror to show it separately.

What is really important is that the audience have the possibility to check out and inspect the mirror before the trick. Because nowadays there is a real flexible mirror made of pliable flexible plastic. SO it is really important they understand the mirror is real and solid. I think Doug Henning understood very well this necessity when he decided to take out the mirror from the frame. It is a middle path decision...

I think the adequate and correct handling and the right understanding of the prop and basic routine is vital and so important BEFORE starting to think about any variation or theatrical routine.

I hope you understand my thoughts :-)

What do you think about this?

Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (Apr 12, 2019 10:22PM)
Anyone happen to know the size of the mirror for the Mr. Magic Flexible Mirror? I broke the mirror and need a replacement.
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Apr 12, 2019 11:17PM)
To my mind, the trick became obsolete on the day I learned about Mylar.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Apr 13, 2019 05:49PM)
[quote]On Apr 12, 2019, Heres Tony wrote:
Anyone happen to know the size of the mirror for the Mr. Magic Flexible Mirror? I broke the mirror and need a replacement. [/quote]

Just reassemble your broken mirror and measure it with a ruler, but if you did not consider repairing it, and throw the mirror away, then measure the frame, and leave enough room to slide the mirror into the grove.

You don't have to do any of that, all you need to do is take the frame to a mirror company and have them make one to fit. They will even sand the edges so you don't get cut. Custom mirror stores are still around everywhere, and they are not that expensive.

Mr. magic props are junk in my opinion, I ordered a couple items and they did not work, and looked really bad. I assume their props are made for children. Don't just buy by only looking at price. It will cost you more in the long run.
Message: Posted by: Heres Tony (Apr 13, 2019 09:26PM)
Thank you, Bill, for your honest feedback,
Tony Brent
Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show
Message: Posted by: dragonash (May 10, 2019 02:14AM)
The version Doug Henning performed has a slot in the side as well as the one needed for operation. He removed the mirror from the side slot to show it. I like this because it doesn't suggest the mirror could move in the direction of the folding.
Message: Posted by: blackstone99 (May 10, 2019 08:13AM)
I have a version made by Owen Magic. It's a very puzzling effect but once you know how it works you question whether it is deceptive. It is deceptive. Audiences love it.

Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (May 10, 2019 07:18PM)
[quote]On May 10, 2019, dragonash wrote:
The version Doug Henning performed has a slot in the side as well as the one needed for operation. He removed the mirror from the side slot to show it. I like this because it doesn't suggest the mirror could move in the direction of the folding. [/quote]

Interesting. He didn't perform it that way when I saw him do it. So maybe he changed it over time? When I saw him he took it out and put it back in through the top slot. He commented that the frame "locks the mirror in place". He later used the same language when he walked through a mirror. His order of moves made it especially deceptive. He started with the penetration at the top. Then he showed the mirror was flexible. Then he did the pentration again at the bottom. He left the needle penetrating the mirror as he unzipped the bag with the zipper towards the audience. Then he pulled out the needle and immediately removed the mirror. This way they could see that the mirror was exactly where the needle was just removed. He then knocked on the mirror and then slid mirror from frame and handed it to the spectator. It received a big round of applause.
Message: Posted by: boxjumper (May 12, 2019 11:29AM)
Henning did a great performance of that.
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (May 12, 2019 12:24PM)
Doug Henning preformed this on one of his television special. He did remove and replace it from the side slot when I watched him. None that are manufactured could have a top or end slot and a side slot in the frame, as that would mean the frame would fall apart, unless he had one specially made with extra pieces to hold it together. He also used the cloth bag much like the one Abbott's sells, or sold in the day.
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (May 12, 2019 02:42PM)
Found a video of Henning performing it in 1981! It is at 3:40.


So it sounds like it did evolve over time. Some of the language used is slightly different from when I saw him in the mid 1980s. But the manipulation is the same.
Message: Posted by: FrankFindley (May 14, 2019 04:07PM)
Another video performance starting at 35 minute mark. He almost exposed the gimmicked but still a strong performance.