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134 Posts

Profile of Grimm
I've been working on Crazy Man's Handcuff's and the moves aren't that hard. What I wanted to ask was, how does one get the moves so that they aren't noticed. I've practiced in front of a mirror but it seems so blatantly obvious when the last couple moves are made. Any advice would be great and thank you.
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195 Posts

Profile of mgical
It is all about the timing (and just like most sleights there really isn't the need to rush) all the movements throughout the routine should happen at the same pace... a real telltale is to speed up when you do the sleight. If you have access to a camera video it, that might help.

This may be an occasion where getting a fellow magician to watch you perform it might help. Then 'fire it in anger' sometimes the only way to gain confidence is to perform it.

The problem we have as magicians is two fold

a) Magicians guilt....that feeling when you are wearing a TT that feels like it is obvious to a blindman at a hundred yards
b) The opposite, the old, magicians blink! How many people can do a perfect pass in the mirror. If only the audience would have the decency to blink at the same point you always do in rehearsal!
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123 Posts

Profile of fullmindpower
Yeah exactly!!! I thought I was the only one who blinks while rehearsing the pass as well as other similar moves!!! I can hardly keep staring at my hand during the movement!! I wonder why?
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220 Posts

Profile of bropaul
Blinking does make the moves look good. I didn't even know that I blinked until I saw my act on video in the early 80's. Man what a tell. It's a hard thing to break. But I keep trying.

As for the handcuffs. It's not obvious. Only to you. Watch it like you saw it for the first time and enjoy the magic. With that mind set, you will be able to pull off anything.

Good luck and continued success...
Bro. Paul West
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Loyal user
Austin, TX
237 Posts

Profile of Khopri
I agree with what mgical said. Its all about being smooth and deliberate with each move. Make your move match all the other moves you do with the bands.

Also, something I've seen done a lot is having the spectator blow on the bands, making them get their face right up close. Then when you show the bands have un-linked, it really hits them hard.

Dan Turcotte has some nice notes on making the CMH smooth. Check it out at
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164 Posts

Profile of limkris
I have found it very important to continue to move after you have done the dirty work so there is no rhytm break. You continue to move the 2 rubber bands in cross form to prove that they are still linked.
I look in the spectator's eyes when performing the move.
Ron Reid
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
2733 Posts

Profile of Ron Reid
Hi Grimm:

I think this is a case where video really helps. I suggest you buy Michael Ammar's "Classic Rendition" video on Crazy Man's Handcuffs - I think you'll get a better feel for the rhythm.

I pick up just about every video/DVD I can find that has CMHs on it. I can tell you there are a lot of different ways to do it, and still have it look good. Michael Ammar says (in his CMH manuscript) to never pull the bands against each other until you do the move, but Tim Ellis does this a whole bunch on his Ellis in Wonderland DVD and it looks good (better than Ammar, IMHO).

Johnny Ace Palmer does it real slow and steady on one of his videos. So, anyway, I think you should get the Ammar video first, because he breaks it down, along with combining the action (the move) with your words so your audience doesn't get suspicious.

I hope this helps you.

W.F. Lewis
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Profile of W.F. Lewis
Also Ammar's advice about the time delay, or seperating the "move" from the magic really makes a big difference.

This goes for a lot of other magical effects as well.
Tim Ellis
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Melbourne, Australia
1224 Posts

Profile of Tim Ellis
Thanks for your kind words Ron.

If you check out the '24 Years of Living Next Door to Ellis' DVD you'll see the move I came up with as a follow-up to CMH, the Rubberband Restoration. It's quite simple but the reaction it gets from laymen (and magicians too surprisingly) is amazing!

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Eternal Order
Northern California
13383 Posts

Profile of TheAmbitiousCard
That is one of the greatest pieces of advices there is in magic.
John Carney spoke at length about this in his lecture last year.

And gave a terriffic example by vanishing a silk from a glass.

On 2005-03-18 09:56, Willie wrote:
Also Ammar's advice about the time delay, or seperating the "move" from the magic really makes a big difference.

This goes for a lot of other magical effects as well. Hand Crafted Magic
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134 Posts

Profile of Grimm
Thanks for the advice everybody. For some reason I hadn't thought about doing this particular trick in front of a camera (don't know why, I do with a lot of the others) Also noted with thanks are the DVDs. I appreciate the help.
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Ferndown, Dorset, UK
624 Posts

Profile of Clarioneer
What move Smile Oh... you mean when you are showing that the bands are linked and demonstrate by pulling them wide apart... slowly and deliberately...

The spec does see the move... when both are flat against each other and you simply move them slowly apart...
catch you later

steve j
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Special user
Long Island, New York
559 Posts

Profile of steve j
They may seem obvious to you because you know what to look for, show it to a trusted friend and see if he catches you. often times magicians are too critical of themselves, you will find that you can have people looking over your shoulder and they wont see the moves, in fact that is what micheal Ammar tells you to do in one of his books.
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Inner circle
NJ, U.S.
6112 Posts

Profile of Jaz
I've been pulling them wide apart to show a link as the first move, then doing the finger to thumb slides.
Sometimes I'll use a unlink move from Tarbell. I think 7 by H. Lorayne?

At the end I shoot both bands into the spectators eyes so they blink.
Just kidding . hehe
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Inner circle
Kalamazoo, Mi.
2537 Posts

Profile of Jaxon
The biggest mistake I see made for this trick is the "1(stretch)...2(stretch)....3(move)" timing. It's like they are counting down the moment the magician is going to do something sneaky.

I only stretch once and that's when I do the move. I usually say the line, "It can't go through".

The same timing rule applies to other moves such as a strike vanish. Don't count down the move by raising and lowering the wand a couple of times then on the count of three you do the move. This is setting them up to know when to watch more closely (on the count of 3 in this case). When doing the strike vanish you point to the object with the wand. Lift it then do the move as you lower it.

I know you didn't need to hear about the strike vanish but the timing si the same for a move like this. The move is copies a natural action. So if your timing doesn't suggest anything but a natural action then they won't suspect anything other then that.

It's a great trick so have fun with it.

After regaining my ability to hear after 20 years of deafness. I learned that there is magic all around you. The simplest sounds that amazed me you probably ignore. Look and listen around you right now. You'll find something you didn't notice before.
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Eternal Order
sleeping with the fishes...
10687 Posts

Profile of vinsmagic
One of the best moves for a conclusinon to CMH is to use jeff Pierces Slo- Mo un link. you can find this effect in his latest book the" king has left the building With Amnesia,,,
and if anyone wants to see this effect pm me with your email addrress and I will send a demo
Come check out my magic.
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Inner circle
Orlando, FL
1240 Posts

Profile of Jeff
I'm not ashames to say it, Vinny does the Slo-Mo Unlink better than me (or at least different than me). Check out his video, you'll like it!

Jeff Pierce
Available for order now:

See new, used, and collectable magic and books for sale at:
Pete Biro
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1933 - 2018
18558 Posts

Profile of Pete Biro
Nobody, but NO BUDDY... does it better than Bob Jardine... he demo'd it today at Dean Dill's and will be doing it at the Castle this week, including Friday lunch.
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225 Posts

Profile of Lo-Key
AHHHH Pete... there you go again name dropping ..before you say nobody but no body does it better... pm Vinny I am sure he will send you a demo of Jeffs effect..
Sorry I wasn't fortunate to See Bob Jardine perform the effect....but nice plug anyway

lo- key
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7 Posts

Profile of theblind
Pete have you seen everybody do it? That is quite a bold statement. I think Vinny Marini and David Neighbors do it extremely well. They are also the only two people I've ever seen do Twice as Crazy well.
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