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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Nothing up my sleeve... » » Dime and Penny Effect. (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Dan Watkins
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I never said I don't have a problem with borrowing coins - (quarters). I do it all the time if I don't have my coins on me.

When I do use my silver dollars or halves I treat the coins very casually and use routines that put the coins in the spectator's hands. It's never an issue.

My original point is simply that magic with tiny coins (dimes, etc.) is unimpressive.
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jerdunn
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I'm not sure why this is an either-or debate. Use little ordinary coins in a casual situation, like picking up some change from the restaurant table to do a trick. Use big honkin' coins like silver dollars to do a trick like Three Fly, so that everyone can see the coins and the effect seems more impossible.

Jerry
mysticz
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Quote:
On 2002-11-08 13:32, Dan Watkins wrote:
My original point is simply that magic with tiny coins (dimes, etc.) is unimpressive.


I disagree.

How strong a piece of magic appears to an audience is proportional to the skill of the magician, not the size of the prop (or in this case, the coin).

Way back when I performed a lot of close-up magic, one of the effects I used frequently involved vanishing a borrowed coin (often a nickel, dime, or Penny and repeatedly causing it to appear in the spectator's pocket (my version of Slydini's fly away coin routine from Stars of Magic). The size of the coin meant nothing; however, the fact that the coin was borrowed from the spectator (and was presumably "normal") strengthened the effect a great deal.

My routine was entertaining as well as mystifying (if I must say so myself), and I believe this is why the magic was impressive and appeared to be so strong.

Sometimes it is important to think from a lay person's perspective instead of from a magician's viewpoint when conceiving and constructing an impressive magical presentation.

Joe Z.
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Dan Watkins
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I believe how strong a piece of magic is is not specifically proportional to the skill of the magician. I think it is made up of a few things: Technical Skill, the ability to entertain, and the routine itself.

I still maintain that IF you could borrow a silver dollar from a spectator and do your routine it is more impressive than using a dime. No one carries silver dollars on them anymore granted. I still maintain a bigger coin like a quarter is more impressive than using a dime. Even a car key for that matter - it is a bigger object.

Such a tiny object like a dime - I just don't think a spectator has to go very far in their mind to believe such a small object is easy to hide.
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harris
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One of the most impressive bits of magic was when Bill Wisch came to lecture in Kansas City.

His work with a simple dime was incredible.

I have not heard his name in awhile.

Harris
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mysticz
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Quote:
On 2002-11-08 16:13, Dan Watkins wrote:
I believe how strong a piece of magic is is not specifically proportional to the skill of the magician. I think it is made up of a few things: Technical Skill, the ability to entertain, and the routine itself.


In my opinion, the "skill of a magician" includes his technical prowess, his ability to effectively entertain, and his talent at constructing strong, meaningful routines. By this definition, the impact of a magician's work is directly proportional to his skill encompassing these attributes.

Quote:
I still maintain that IF you could borrow a silver dollar from a spectator and do your routine it is more impressive than using a dime. No one carries silver dollars on them anymore granted. I still maintain a bigger coin like a quarter is more impressive than using a dime. Even a car key for that matter - it is a bigger object.

Such a tiny object like a dime - I just don't think a spectator has to go very far in their mind to believe such a small object is easy to hide.


If your purpose is simply to make something disappear, perhaps the vanish of a silver dollar may have a slightly greater impact. However, most interesting, fulfilling, and entertaining magic involves a lot more than just vanishing a coin.

You can effectively interact, amuse, and mystify an audience with objects far smaller than a silver dollar (e.g., John Ramsay's famous Four Little Beans routine). Better yet, if you can effectively cause a dime to disappear from within a spectator's own hand (an effect, BTW, possible with the lowly dime and Penny trick), I guarantee it will have twice the impact of your retention vanish of the silver dollar.

But only if the magician creates the right moment and justification for the effect -- and this is possible only through careful consideration of such things as routining, scripting, etc. These elements are the core of effective conjuring, much more so than whether you use a 1920 Peace dollar, a 1935 Walking half, or a 1999 Lincoln Penny.

Joe Z.
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There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Shakespeare's Hamlet I.v. 174-175
ArchMiro
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This is an interesting topic and I've been enjoying it so far, almost to the point where I don't want to respond. But I'm going to.

I'm going to have to disagree with you, Dan, though effects with large coins ARE visually intriguing.

However, I just did the Dime and Penny (basic vanish) trick at work during our company's client appreciation day picnic. It was pretty easy, I asked a client for a Penny, another client for a dime and just switched them for my dime and Penny gimmick set. On the back of yet a third client's hand, I made the dime disappear, simply by touching it with two fingers. People on all sides watched. And the effect was Smile to put it visually.

This wouldn't have been possible with a half dollar and quarter, as no one had a half dollar (i checked, believe me). And it would have been nowhere near as clean. The reason...it was a small scale. Powerful, simple, clean, elegant. And inexpensive too...

Seriously though, I think some of the appeal on such a small scale is also determined by the personalities of the people. In close up work, the small coins are quiet effective. And the type of people I deal with are techies as well...they are always talking about shrinking the size of laptops, processors, etc...so a small scale appeals to them. If I were in a restaurant though, I'd use larger coins, simply because of the working conditions and the type of crowd.

In closing, I'd like to say that the dimished size of the coins in NO WAY diminishes the effect of the trick. But either way, opinions are like belly buttons...everyone's got one!

Thanks for letting me chime in, I hope I haven't annoyed anyone too greatly! Smile
Dan Watkins
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Ok you guys, you have some good points. I will concede that handled properly, the dime and Penny can be very magical for the limited purpose it was created for.

I will still personally prefer bigger coins and the multitude of routines that can be done with them.

Actually if I think about it, I do have to confess - I do use a Penny for a routine I like to perform - Roger Klause's "Whisper".
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ArchMiro
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Let's have a round of applause for Dan! Smile

This forum is really fantastic. I love the diversity of opinion yet at the same time, people are open minded enough to embrace broader views. You guys all rock!
Magix
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It is a great forum. And because you are all so open minded, I feel comfortable sharing a beginner's opinion.

I like both small coins and bigger ones. But as someone who is new to magic, I only do magic for friends, family and the occasional co-worker. And although it hasn't happened yet, I am concerned that using the larger coins will be more apt to cause people to suspect gaffed coins. (I use relatively common coins, but I am not yet skilled enough to borrow coins and switch them for my own, even if someone was carrying what I need.)

In other words, they know that I am not a professional magician with years of practice. They might accept the idea of me vanishing a small coin, but a larger coin?

Hmmmm....... Any thoughts?
deuces
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I'm leaning a bit towards both views on this subject but to for me, I think the best routines are ones that involve props that are common (using coins that are common to the area).

So either a switch, or using the spectator's coin.... hmm wait maybe that means i was leaning towards dime and Penny Smile
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ArchMiro
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pg1013-

Actually, either small coins or large coins will be convincing to your family if you are able to do it. Believe it or not (and I've had my experience with family), you're not going to get them to "suspend their disbelief" no matter what size coins you use. That's because they're you're family and they're going to try to pick apart everything no matter what, especially after you really get them good....What will achieve that goal of the suspension of disbelief is just to get good at your routine. So in this case, I truly believe that "size doesn't matter." Smile
Dan Watkins
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I think often magicians get to0 hung up on the idea that people think we are using gaff coins all the time. First of all, most people don't know how coins are gaffed. They may suspect "trick" coins, but have no idea how they are "tricked".

I really feel the key to solving this issue is allowing the spectators to get to handle the coins before, during, and at the end of the routine - not all routines have to do this, but make sure you have routines that use the spectator. When you treat the coins casually and have spectator hands on them - even without telling someone to inspect the coins the fact that they can handle them deflects suspicion.

Take a look at David Roth on the David Letterman show. Roth used 1964 Kennedy Silver half dollars. He was matter of fact about it, let Letterman look at them, Letterman complimented David on the beauty of the coins, and Roth went on with the routine. Roth's stuff was great. I think the last thing in Letterman's mind was trick coins. Here is a link for the video clip - judge for yourself (its real media format 2.86 megs) http://www.coinvanish.com/rothonletterman.rm
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Scott F. Guinn
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I both agree and disagree with Dan. In a formal show, especially one with more than one or two spectators, I think bigger translates to more visible, which translates to better.

However, for "impromptu" work, pulling out the Morgans could hardly seem as anything but coming prepared with your "special" coins.

And while I agree that magicians often worry too much, I think that they even more often underestimate or misinterpret the thinking of the audience.

I have done magic in the real world for a long time now, and I make it a practice to listen to what my spectators say--especially when they think I'm NOT listening!

At my regular restaurant gig a few years ago, I had a table of customers who had seen me many times. I'd done lots of stuff for them before, and just on a whim did a fairly standard dime and Penny routine for them. I later heard them discussing it. One of the ladies said, "I wonder if those could have been tricky coins?" The "leader" of the group quickly dismissed this idea. "Nah! Maybe those fancy silver dollars from last time were tricky, but nobody would manufacture a trick coin out of a Penny. It wouldn't be cost effective, 'cuz they'd never be able to make their money back on it." Everyone else at the table seemed to see the logic in this argument and nodded in agreement.

So it depends.

I would also say that how much money you spend on your magic has little or no bearing on how good you are or how dedicated you are to the art. Many of the greats, including Downs, Vernon, etc, used homemade props. How much time, effort and love you put into your magic is infinitely more important than how much money you put into it. I say this simply because Dan's earlier post (while I sure was not intended thus) could be interpreted as saying that you don't care as much about magic if you don't buy the more expensive gaffs.
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Magix
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Thanks guys, great advice. It's good to know that as a beginner it's normal to worry about getting caught, so to speak.

And I think Dan is correct that most people would have no idea how coins are gaffed. I had no idea until I began learning about magic. Prior to that, as Dan said, I may have suspected trick coins, but I was clueless beyond that.

I guess it's like the first trick I learned, vanishing silk. I was completely fooled everytime I saw it. But once I learned how to do it, it seemed so simple that I thought everyone would figure it out. But no one has.

Thanks again!
ixnay66
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Nice reply Scott. David Acer's Spare Change is great and I think it's strength is its impromptu look. Someone asks to see a trick and you say "All I have is a Penny but if you have a dime I can do the famous 11-Cent trick." It uses the spectators money and it's VERY strong. Plus, you're inches away from them anyway so the size of the coins really isn't an issue. While I love halfs and dollars and use them often, you can't dismiss a Penny or dime on size or the fact that you can't do 3-fly or palm-to-palm changes with them. Doug Henning did Fickle Nickle on TV and it looked like real magic.
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johne
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Just to add to a small but strong effect, it is mentioned in Bobos about how strong the simple effect of vanishing a dime can be using the simple TT method.

John Eddington
prophet2002
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or just use a pinch vanish.
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