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Topic: "And Then There Were Four" Gospel sponge routine
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 16, 2019 05:57PM)
Below is a short core summary of "And Then There Were Four" Gospel sponge routine I am in the process of working on and will be using table hopping on rough outdoor picnic tables at a nearby large baseball park this summer. I may be able to post a video of it shortly on the closed FCM FaceBook site soon as I hope to film it this Saturday, if possible. I am posting this routine here in the hope the reader can modify it for their own setting/use.

Purpose of Routine: To use magic as a way to informally ask people to "check out" my local church which is very evangelistic and friendly fortunately (www.LighthouseOn11th.com). According to pollster/researcher George Barna, 25% of adults would consider visiting a church if simply sincerely invited to attend by a friend. Our pastor (a former baseball pitcher) is an energetic "soul winner". So my purpose may be different than yours- I am just trying to get folks who have no church home to check out Lighthouse where I know they will be fully exposed to the Gospel there (this is known as a "back door" evangelism approach). A recent survey of the County where I live indicated 61% of poll responders have no current "church affiliation".

Props needed: "And Then There Were Four" by Magic By Gosh sponge set. Widely available including at Penguin Magic for $3.35.

Optional props/helpful training DVDs: Since I will be performing on rough painted surfaces, I use a very small but can be rolled up to fit in my back pocket (and also is very durable) tacky/grippy close up pad: A "Ritz 685 Silicone Pot Holder/Trivet" which I purchased at a Gordon Food Service store for under $10 (also available online); "Steve Dacri's Spongeball Toolbox & DVD" from Magic by Gosh (available through Amazon for $27.59) which comes with several sponges, a purse frame and a silk poke. I basically use in my routine the Dai Vernon "Ten Count" at the very beginning and the Frank Zak bar routine modified (also completely taught on this excellent Dacri DVD) where I produce the number 4 in the spectator's hand, not the #1 final load sponge that Frank uses. I also use the "pat down" load in getting the 4 sponge into my left hand from my left front pants pocket as taught by Jay Noblezada in his "Sponge" DVD (which comes with four red sponge balls and is also available from Penguin Magic). Having a regular dictionary handy to review all the words that begin with "for" or "four" or "fore" is worthwhile to expand on patter using "four" words. At the end of the routine, I produce a "Brown E" giveaway sponge by Goshman- can buy in 50 in a pack or individually from Penguin Magic (who also sells purse frames). You'll also need a small tweezers and a small thumb tip as well. I found it too difficult to get a smashed up Brown E out of a thumb tip without the use of a tweezers.

Routine: I take the silicone pad out of my back right pocket and unroll it, placing it on the table directly in front of me. I then produce the two hexagon/hexacomb shaped sponges (which I really like as they don't roll away) from the empty purse frame (ala the Frank Zak routine) stating that when "My wife asks what I have in my wallet, I often respond "Nuttin Honey""; and then discuss the strong, sturdy shape of the two sponges: the same unique shape as nuts and bolts, pencils, STOP signs, some Little Debbie snack cakes, the design on all soccer balls, and of course: Honey Comb Cereal as bees made their honey "fruit" in their solidly designed hives/honey combs.

I then execute the Vernon "Ten Count" on the small silicone pad using the two sponges (taught on both DVDs mentioned above) with the comment "Would you like to see the hexagon honey comb fruit fly?" when the two sponges jump over to one hand only.

Next I basically do the Frank Zak routine as on the Dacri DVD other than I do the Noblezada "pat down" after the first sponge is vanished to secretly take the 4 sponge out of my left front pocket. I don't like simply putting my hand in my pocket for no apparent reason. At least doing a "pat down" on the premise for looking for the vanished sponge gives some sort of reason of going into the front pants pocket. I also as in the Zak routine, after the two sponges are secretly palmed and the 4 sponge placed in the spectator's closed fist, I place my right hand into my pocket to obtain "a third hexacomb" (actually just taking back out one of the two hidden sponges just placed in my right front pants pocket). Again, this may be another weak reason at least for placing your hand in a pocket (as I won't have a bar in front of me to hide that action), but it's better than just trying to "hide" it while the spectators hopefully are reacting to the what action is going on elsewhere.

Or you can follow Frank Zak's way of doing it, or any other method to get the 4 sponge secretly loaded into the spectator's hand.

Rather than counting down to the #1 like Frank Zak does (his final load is a large #1 Goshman sponge), I mistakenly count up to four. Then I ask "What does a golfer yell when he hits a bad shot?: FORE!". I then ask the spectator to open his fist and reveal the large sponge 4.

The Zak routine ends with a vanished sponge smashed under a flat right palm resting on the table top. What I do is simply roll up the close up mat (concealing the hidden smashed down sponge) and place it right back in my back right pants pocket (and then placing on my right thumb hidden in that back pocket into a small thumb tip with the Brown E sponge loaded in it).

I then take the 4 sponge from the spectator's open hand with my left hand and place it near my forehead and say: "Look, my foremost forehead!". Then I place the 4 over my left eye and say- "Wow- what foresight!" "I tried swallowing my contact lenses earlier for some insight, but that didn't work."

While putting the 4 sponge into my back left pants pocket, I pull out the small tweezers while doing this. And I say meanwhile:

"Thanks for watching this little hexagon routine, sponsored by my home church, Lighthouse Community Church. We have lots of fours at Lighthouse, we meet for fellowship and for fortifying our faith. We celebrate having FOR Unto Us a Child is born, a Son is given, for the most wonderful "four" ever: FOR-GIVENESS. If you don't have a church home, I would invite you to Lighthouse Community Church to come and visit- I will leave some of our church invitation cards right here on the table, feel free to take them, then come visit me Roger Magic Bus any Sunday in the Children's Wing at 10:30AM where I am always staked out doing magic for the kids every week --- I'd be thrilled to see you some Sunday and show you around our growing church, led by Pastor Doug Swink, who used to be a college baseball pitcher in San Diego."

"Oh, by the way, I FORgot yet another thing our church is known for: Fun Food! Especially having every Sunday lots of cookies, coffee, donuts and brownies. Do you like brownies?- When I was a kid I'd go over to my cousin Karen's and she'd use teeny tiny tongs to snag teeny tiny brownies she took hot right out of her Easy Bake oven for us kids to eat. Would you like one of those fresh brownies to share before I go? Let's pretend my left fist is an imaginary Easy Bake oven" (load in thumb tip with a Brown E in it). Then "I will take these teeny tiny tongs (use tweezer) and I will pull out of my fist oven, just for you, a fresh Brown E!" "Enjoy, feel free to share it, and I'm looking FORward to seeing you again soon" (I intend to leave behind on each table some classy Lighthouse nice glossy folding business cards obtained from Vistaprint and the sponge "Brown E".

My leaving behind the Lighthouse invitation card on the many club picnic tables has already been approved by the General Manager of the Kalamazoo Growlers baseball team- Thank you!- it's great to have permission up front to do this routine- as several hundred people each and every home baseball game are leisurely eating at these ball park tables before every baseball league game starts). See the Kalamazoo Growlers web site- its a great very successful team and a lot of fun to be there all summer long.

Comments/additional lines/gags/ideas to this routine welcome to posted below! Feel free to use any part of this sponge routine you'd like. :)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 16, 2019 07:00PM)
According to Bill Wells on page 112 of the most recent January, 2019, issue of "The Linking Ring" (IBM), there at least 18 DVDs devoted to teaching sponge-ball magic. Denis Behr's "Conjuring Archive" lists 64 books on sponge balls.

I have the "L&L World's Greatest Magician's Sponge Ball" DVD which is excellent ($14.95) and I've read per Bill Wells the four-volume Master Course by Daryl is an excellent learning resource also.

I am not sure ever remember seeing a Gospel magic DVD or book or FCM lecture notes on sponge ball magic, but there might be one out there someplace.

Anyone know of one other Gospel magic resource other than the excellent "Clever Sponge Ball Magic" DVD by Duane Laflin (which is terrific if looking for a nice "stage" version using much larger/more visible than 2" sponge balls- a really terrific routine by Duane on it- widely available still from various dealers), OR the "Sponge Cross and Cubes" by Dean Dill? (both available at www.laflinmagicstore.com). In back issues of The Christian Conjurer or The Voice of the FCM? Just curious...
Message: Posted by: ageo (Jan 17, 2019 02:37PM)
Thanks for sharing this routine with others, MagicBus. Please let us know how it turns out when you perform it in the upcoming events.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 17, 2019 04:28PM)
Thanks ageo - Will do! (post a real world performance update). I hope to literally "perform" the above routine at least 100 times (or much more) this May through August doing "table hopping" at baseball games or on the downtown sidewalks in Kalamazoo.

FYI: Abbott's Magic Company www.AbbottMagic.com in Colon, Michigan (or call Greg there) is currently having a "Super Duper" sale beginning 1-17-19 (as supplies last) on Daryl's excellent 4 volume DVD set on sponge ball magic. Usually, each DVD (there is a separate DVD Volume 1, 2, 3 and 4) sells for $18.00 EACH. Now these "Master Course Sponge Balls" DVD(s) are on sale for only $5.95 for each DVD Volume, lowest price I am aware of/have ever seen on this particular excellent training DVD set. Go to "Showcased Products" at the Abbott web site, scroll down to "Master Course Sponge Balls Vol. 1 by Daryl" etc.. Wow!

Also, Daryl's two DVD volumes on Cups and Balls are also available for $6.00 each from Abbott's right now for this limited time sale. The late Daryl was an excellent teacher and lecturer (I saw one of his lectures live at Michigan Magic Day a few years ago and it was terrific), and these DVDs are certainly a bargain if one wants to learn a lot about performing well these two standard magical effects that have entertained generations of spectators.
Message: Posted by: ageo (Jan 18, 2019 06:23AM)
Thanks, MagicBus, for your reply.
If possible, please post your video on a publicly-available location. Some members of the Magic Café may not be able to reach it if it is posted in the "members-only" section of FCM webpage. A suitable site, I think, could be the same location where other videos of your Michigan Christian magicians group have been posted.
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 18, 2019 07:13AM)
Will do. Will try to film it tomorrow, but the routine is still in the "new"/planning it all out stage at this point. I do find the spectator when holding a sponge load has to be told to "hold onto this hexacomb tightly", shown how to turn their fist over, and "do not open your hexacomb guardian hand until I give the command: OPEN SESAME!, the same command my mother gave before trying to open a pickle jar". This prevents the two sponge load or #4 load from being exposed by the spectator too early. I like how Frank Zak does a reverse "Did you feel it go" question so the spectator keeps their fist closed until the right time.
Message: Posted by: ageo (Jan 18, 2019 09:37AM)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 18, 2019 02:37PM)
Yikes, do to a pending snow storm moving into lower Michigan tonight, we canceled our filming session in Grand Rapids for tomorrow morning. So... we will film it as soon as I see MagicBob again. I was looking forward to using my new Vernet Medium "Soft" thumbtip for the above routine tomorrow. I'll post it here when I can get the routine above on video. Thanks again for your interest, I personally think this is a very usable routine.
Message: Posted by: ageo (Jan 18, 2019 08:28PM)
Message: Posted by: MagicBus (Jan 19, 2019 08:01AM)
I added to the above:"We celebrate what Isaiah FOREtold when he said, For unto us..." (see the above patter line taken from the well known Isaiah Chapter 9 used in Handel's Messiah and in Luke 2 as recited by Linus in "A Charlie Brown Christmas").
Message: Posted by: funsway (Jan 22, 2019 04:29PM)
From a poem I wrote long ago at a Retreat Center. Maybe something you can use or expand on.

"I give myself permission to fore-bear my dreams --
I fore-give myself for being me --
I will sing of fore-tune as is my right –
I will fore-get my balanced peace --
And I gift to thee fore-ever,
just because I can!"

And as I then had faith,
I needed words not at all --
but He will always be with me,
just a'fore I am."