Sucker Die Box - classic comedy kids magic

Sucker Die Box

Sucker Die Box – classic comedy kids magic

One of the classic kids show magic props in the Sucker Die Box.  It’s a wooden box with two doors, that you open and put a large die inside.  Acting like an inept magician (which should be a natural for a clown), you tilt the die box at a 45-degree angle, and open the upper door to show that it’s empty.  And as you’re tilting the box, the audience can ‘hear’ the die sliding to the other side.  In the same fashion, you tilt it the other way.  Again with the sliding sound, to ‘prove’ that the box is empty. (more…)

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Drooping Flower - Cloth Rose - Easy Magic Trick

Drooping Flower

Drooping Flower – Cloth Rose – Easy Magic Trick

The drooping flower is one of my favorite clown props, and one that I use all of the time.  The basic effect is that the flower (made of feathers or something similar) appears normal, but a simple movement causes it to droop on command.  It can, of course, be used in a variety of ways.  I normally use it either by itself, or as part of something larger as a ‘special magic wand’—I explain to the audience that it’s a magical flower, because I haven’t watered it since I bought it, and it’s still perfectly healthy!  As I do this, I’m making eye contact with the audience, and intentionally not looking at the flower which is now drooping.  (more…)

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Thumb tip - clown magic prop

Thumb tip – clown magic prop

Thumb tip – clown magic prop

One item that many magicians find indispensable is the thumb tip.  In a nutshell, it is a false thumb that the magician wears over his real thumb – since it’s hollow, it has room for a small ‘payload’ of some sort.  What kind of payload?  That depends on the magic trick—it can be a thread, a ribbon, salt, etc.  But is it appropriate for a clown to use? (more…)

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Lota vase - clown magic prop

Lota Vase

Lota vase – clown magic prop

The Lota Vase is one of my favorite props, although it’s not one that I use on a regular basis.  In a nutshell, it’s a specially constructed metal vase that is filled with water (or some other liquid), emptied out, and can then be emptied again, and again, and again.  It’s well-made (mine has lasted nearly 10 years so far), and versatile.  It can be used in any skit or routine where you use or need water.  I recommend that you don’t use the Lota vase as it’s own trick.  Instead, use it as part of a larger routine. (more…)

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magic change bag

Mismade flag

Independence Day clown magic with the Mismade Flag and a change bag

Last Saturday, my wife and I were clowning at a community picnic, and one of the things that we did was the Mismade flag.  I strongly believe that clown magic is done very differently from a magician’s performance – I strongly recommend David Ginn’s book Clown Magic to talk about it in detail.  In a nutshell, a magician gives the impression that he is in charge of magical powers; in contrast, the clown isn’t in control of anything, except possibly his temper.  The mismade flag is a perfect example of a magic trick that’s well-suited to a clown performance. (more…)

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Sample clown skit for use with the Magic Coloring Book magic prop - feel free to modify, add, delete and change to make it fit your character

Magic Coloring Book

Magic Coloring Book – a simple clown routine

This is a short clown routine using the Magic Coloring Book, also known in magical circles as the Svengali book. In a nutshell, when turning the pages of the book, the book appears to be blank. Turning the pages in a different way, it appears that the pages are now filled with coloring book images. Turning them a third way, the colors are now filled in. Here’s one way you could use this in a clown routine. (more…)

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Joker Tube, aka. Strat-O-Sphere

Joker Tube, aka. Strat-O-Sphere

Strat-O-Sphere – The Joker Tube – Magic Trick with “How To” Instructions

The Joker Tube Pro Model (aka. the Strat-O-Sphere magic prop) is one of the classics of magic and lends itself to clowning very well.   The first time I ever saw it in use was when Jeff McMullen was using it at a library show, where he was using the colored balls to show the children the classic lesson about traffic lights, where the “lights” kept changing locations, only for one of them to disappear unexpectedly.   It was very funny and very clownish-€if you use magic in your clowning, you might well want to look into a Strat-o-sphere, since it packs small and plays big, and can be used in a variety of ways. (more…)

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My First Magic Book

My First Magic Book

My First Magic Book by Lawrence Leyton

Hardcover, 48 pages, 13.31″ x 0.44″ x 10.38″, (September 1993)

Synopsis of My First Magic Book

What does this book have to do with clowning anyway?  That’s probably the first question running through your mind. The answer is, not much — directly. It’s a children’s book (approximately ages 9-12) to introduce them to magic tricks. However, it’s really a book on how to create magic props.  That you can use, either in your own shows, or to evaluate if this particular prop will work for your character.  Without spending many dollars to buy a professional prop, only to realize that it doesn’t really work for your character.

My First Magic Book

It’s a physically large book, with each page composed primarily of color photographs how to make the props. It doesn’t do a good job of teaching how to perform magic tricks — I’d recommend  David Ginn’s Clown Magic for that or the Klutz Magic Book. But with constructing magic props in mind, it’s ideal. The props are: (more…)

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Take apart vanish box

Take Apart Vanish Box

Take Apart Vanish Box – clown magic prop

Take apart vanish boxBuy from

The  Take Apart Vanish Box is a very nice magic prop that easily lends itself to clowning or comedy magic.   It is a colorful box, that the performer places a small object inside, and it “magically” disappears.  And to prove that it’s vanished, the box is then disassembled in front of the audience.   Mark Wilson discusses how to build something similar in his book,  Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic.  But it’s beyond my meager woodworking skills to make one.

The  Vanish Box lends itself to clowning in several ways. (more…)

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Spiked Coin pocket magic trick

Pocket magic – spiked coin

Spiked Coin  – pocket magic trick

One of my favorite pocket tricks is the  Spiked Coin.  I actually bought mine at a local dollar store.   The basic idea is that you place a coin (I threw away the cheap plastic “coin” that comes with it and use a fifty cent piece in its’ place) inside the little chamber.  And one by one you drive little swords (likewise, I threw away the plastic swords and use toothpicks or wooden matches), making it appear that the coin has disappeared.  Until you rattle the little box, and the audience can hear the coin still in the box.   One by one, the swords (or toothpicks, or wooden matches) are removed, and the little case is opened.  And the coin is revealed, as good as new. (more…)

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